Sepp Blatter resigns from FIFA: Players, officials and John Oliver react
Jun 02, 2015 | 4:34 PM
FIFA's embattled president, Sepp Blatter, announced Tuesday that he will step down and call a vote for a new president to replace him as the leader of the world soccer organization. For reactions to the stunning announcement, read the full story or just scroll down.
Blatter will remain president until FIFA holds a special election, expected by March.
FIFA officials say they will propose reforms such as term limits, salary disclosures and election transparency.
World Cup sponsors McDonald's and Coca-Cola applaud Blatter's resignation and call for more changes.
"I don't think we're anything like out of the woods," said Alexandra Wrage, an international anti-corruption expert who resigned as a member of FIFA's Independent Governance Committee in 2013 in protest of watered-down efforts to reform the organization.
"I think there's the possibility that somebody very much like Blatter, very much like his leadership style, could win at the next election," she said.
Investigators have hoped that interrogations with people who already face charges in the FIFA scandal might lead to additional indictments against other higher officials in the worldwide soccer organization, according to a federal law enforcement source who spoke anonymously because the case is ongoing.
The source could not say whether the Blatter resignation announcement was an attempt by the FIFA leader to dodge a pending indictment or to allow him room to work with investigators on the case, "or whether it was related at all" to the criminal investigation in the United States.
Former Brazilian great sees 'tsumani' coming against corruption
Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times
Brazilian soccer legend Romario said he believes Sepp Blatter's resignation will lead to significant changes.
His fall will come as a tsunami to every corrupt leader in the confederations around the world .... We need the corrupt ones in prison, and we need the contributions from great idols, good sports leaders and football lovers.
World Cup sponsor McDonald's released a statement regarding FIFA President Sepp Blatter's resignation:
The allegations of corruption and questionable ethics within FIFA have overshadowed the game and taken away from the sport, players and fans. We're hopeful that the changes being implemented within FIFA will be a big first step in positively reforming the organization and gaining back trust from fans worldwide.
Alexi Lalas says the promise of new leadership in FIFA won't necessarily end its reputation of corruption.
[FIFA needs] somebody at the helm who understands that just because you're the head of FIFA does not give you carte blanche to go out there and use [money] to enrich yourself, enrich your friends, enrich your country.
Alexi Lalas believes U.S. has hand in Blatter resignation
Philipp Schmidli / Getty Images
Former U.S. national team defender and soccer analyst Alexi Lalas is convinced actions taken by U.S. investigators -- or even U.S. Soccer -- may have prompted Sepp Blatter to resign. He discussed Blatter's resignation with Fox Sports.
The U.S. led this. Whether it's Loretta Lynch, the attorney general, or Sunil Gulati, the president of U.S. Soccer, this doesn't happen without these types of decisions.
"The announcement today by President Blatter represents an exceptional and immediate opportunity for positive change within FIFA. I commend him for making a decision that puts FIFA and the sport we love above all other interests."
Actor Verne Troyer says he should be considered a natural replacement for Sepp Blatter.
IOC President Thomas Bach 'respects' Sepp Batter's decision to resign
Saeed Khan / AFP/Getty Images
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach released a statement on Sepp Blatter's decision to resign as FIFA president:
"We highly respect this decision of President Blatter to step down and to initiate the necessary reforms and to make way for a new leadership of FIFA to drive these changes."
Coca-Cola: Blatter's resignation 'a positive step'
Zuma Press / Tribune News Services
Coca-Cola, a major sponsor of the World Cup, is calling FIFA President Sepp Blatter's resignation "a positive step."
"Our expectation remains that FIFA will continue to act with urgency to take concrete actions to fully address all of the issues that have been raised and win back the trust of all who love the sport of football," the company said in a statement.
"We believe this decision will help FIFA transform itself rapidly into a much-needed 21st century structure and institution."
Blatter isn't making graceful exit on social media
'Something' led to Blatter resigning
Ennio Leanza / EPA
More reaction from the soccer world following FIFA President Sepp Blatter's resignation.
Greg Dyke, chairman of the the Football Assn., said he believes "something" led to Blatter deciding to step down.
"When I was interviewed leaving the [FIFA] congress on Friday night I said this wasn't the end of it but even I didn't think it would all be over by the next Tuesday. Clearly there is something that has come out of the events of last week that has made Mr. Blatter stand down.
"He's gone. We are gonna get someone else. At long last we can sort out FIFA. We can go back to look at those two world cups. If I was in Qatar today I wouldn't be feeling very confident."
British Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport John Whittingdale said:
"I hope football can now come together. The chasm was created by Blatter wanting to hang on.
"Europe was supporting an alternative candidate and as long as he was there it was going to be difficult to move forward.
"I now hope everyone can come together to make the changes required."
Key dates in Sepp Blatter's fall
Notable events in the last five years of Sepp Blatter's FIFA presidency:
December 2010: Russia is awarded the 2018 World Cup and Qatar is chosen to host the 2022 event.
June 2011: Former FIFA executive committee member Bin Hammam is found guilty of bribery and banned from international football activity for life by FIFA's ethics committee.
July 2012: FIFA commissions report to investigate corruption allegations in football. FIFA's ethics committee appoints U.S. attorney Michael Garcia to head investigation.
September 2014: Garcia completes 430-report and submits it to FIFA.
November 2014: FIFA's ethics committee chairman, Hans-Joachim Eckert, publishes a summary of Garcia's report. Russia and Qatar's hosting bids are essentially confirmed after Eckert finds that wrongdoing associated with their bids does not justify reopening the bidding process. Garcia disagrees, calling the summary "erroneous."
May 2015: Seven FIFA officials are arrested in a morning raid as part of a U.S. corruption investigation. A total of 14 people with connections to FIFA are indicted on federal charges.
--Blatter is elected to a fifth term as FIFA president.
June 2015: Jerome Valcke, FIFA secretary general, denies he made payments linked to bribery scandal.
--Blatter announces he will resign.
Philipp Schmidli / Getty Images
David Ginola reportedly will run for FIFA president
Former Premier League midfielder David Ginola told Britain's LBC that he plans to stand in the election to be the next FIFA president.
The French man announced his intention to run for the presidency in January, but withdrew from consideration two weeks later, according to the BBC.
Prince Ali bin al-Hussein says resignation was 'right move'
Fabrice Coffrini / AFP/Getty Images
Jordan's Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, who ran and lost to Sepp Blatter in Friday's FIFA presidential election, described Blatter's resignation as "the right move."
Speaking to CNN on Tuesday, Al-Hussein wouldn't say whether he would run again for president, but stated he was "at the disposal of all the national associations who want a change, including all of those who were afraid to make a change."
Last week Al-Hussein said FIFA is suffering from a leadership crisis that has damaged the confidence soccer fans have in the sport's governing body.
"FIFA needs leadership that governs, guides and protects our national associations," Al-Hussein said. "Leadership that restores confidence in the hundreds of millions of football fans around the world."
Plenty of joy over Blatter's announcement
It's hard to find anyone on social media who's upset over FIFA President Sepp Blatter's decision to resign. Here's a sample of the joy on Twitter:
John Oliver is ready to celebrate
FIFPro sees chance for reform in soccer
Ennio Leanza / Associated Press
FIFPro, the International Federation of Professional Footballers, issued a statement regarding FIFA President Sepp Blatter's resignation announcement:
"FIFPro welcomes the decision of FIFA President Sepp Blatter to resign as this creates an overdue and unique opportunity to fundamentally reform the governance of football.
"The world's professional footballers, through FIFPro, have a pivotal role to play in the structural overhaul of football.
"We are deeply committed to achieving this critical outcome in conjunction with all of the game's key stakeholders.
"FIFPro insists that only flawless governance will be acceptable to protect the well being of the players and the integrity of the game.
"The reform effort will fail without the direct involvement of the players."
Former player calls for change
Former English soccer player Stan Collymore has some ideas as to what FIFA should implement in the wake of Sepp Blatter's resignation.
Watch John Oliver's plea: 'Please, make Sepp Blatter go away.'
Comedian John Oliver, who hosts HBO's "Last Week Tonight," called the federal indictments targeting some of soccer's top officials "awesome" on Sunday's show, and also said he thought that FIFA would never change as long as President Sepp Blatter was in charge. He explained how FIFA's election system works, saying it ensures its leadership rarely shifts. "All the elections in the world are going to change nothing as long as Blatter is there," he said. Then, Oliver actually promised to drink a Bud Light Lime if Blatter was pushed out by FIFA's sponsors: "Please, make Sepp Bletter go away," he said.
The timing -- and Oliver's promise -- was not lost on the show's viewers:
--Austin Knoblauch and Julie Westfall
Watch Sepp Blatter announce he will resign
Video of the full news conference in Zurich, Switzerland, where FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced Tuesday that he would resign:
FIFA, Blatter saga might be worthy of Hollywood
Former Premier League player Graeme Le Saux thinks the ongoing FIFA scandal deserves the on-camera treatment.
UEFA chief supports Blatter resigning
Michael Buholzer / AFP/Getty Images
Michel Platini, president of UEFA, which oversees European soccer, has backed Sepp Blatter's decision to step down as FIFA president in comments to the BBC.
Platini said: "It was a difficult decision, a brave decision, and the right decision."
Platini, above right, called for Blatter, left, to step down after federal indictments were revealed against FIFA officials and sports marketing officials with ties to soccer's governing body last week.
Players support Blatter's decision
Fabrice Coffrini / AFP/Getty Images
FIFA President Sepp Blatter's decision to resign has garnered plenty of support on social media.
Sepp Blatter exits the stage
After announcing that he will resign, FIFA President Sepp Blatter walks off the stage at a news conference on Tuesday. On Friday, he was elected to a fifth term as president. Less than a week later, the 79-year-old's career at the top of soccer's international governing body is in tatters.
Current, former players react to decision
Julie Foudy, Alexi Lalas react to announcement
Former U.S. national team players react to FIFA President Sepp Blatter's decision.