The 79-year-old Swiss brought the curtain down on his 17-year reign after a week in which the game’s governing body has been rocked by a seismic corruption scandal
Sepp Blatter belatedly gave in to widespread calls for him to resign as Fifa president on Tuesday and numerous leading figures within the world of football wasted little time in welcoming the news.
The Swiss had only secured a fifth term on Friday – despite the fact that the game’s governing body had been rocked by a corruption scandal just two days beforehand.
The 79-year-old vowed to reform Fifa in light of the arrest of numerous officials last week as part of an FBI-led investigation into accusations of bribery dating back to 1991, but Blatter stepped down after it emerged that one of his most senior associates, Jerome Valcke, had allegedly known about a payment of $10 million received by former vice-president Jack Warner in 2008 for supporting South Africa’s bid to host the 2010 World Cup.
Uefa president Michel Platini praised his “friend” for taking the “difficult” and “brave” decision to quit, but German Football Association (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach slated Blatter for remaining in his post for so long.
“This is a decision that is absolutely right and which was long overdue,” he told Bild. “It’s actually a tragedy. He – and all of us – could have been spared had he done so earlier.
“With the resignation, some, but not all, problems have been solved.”
Indeed, Brazil icon Romario is now hoping that Blatter’s resignation will allow the beautiful game to restore its reputation.
“Best news of recent times! The resignation of Sepp Blatter as president of Fifa is the beginning of a new era for world football.
“All corrupt managers of the confederations around the world will feel this fall on them like a tsunami.
“I hope that the waters of this great wave are sufficient to sweep all the corruption.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany, who wants to see a complete changing of the guard within Fifa.
.Portugal legend Luis Figo, who withdrew from the Fifa presidential race before last week’s election, is also hoping that the game can now look forward to a brighter future.
“A good day for Fifa and for football. Change is finally coming,” the former Portugal international posted on Facebook.
“I said on Friday that the day would come sooner or later. Here it is! Now we should, responsibly and calmly, find a consensual solution worldwide in order to start a new era of dynamism, transparency and democracy in Fifa.”
The Dutch football governing body (KNVB) was similarly enthused by Blatter’s announcement, having seen its president Michael van Praag also fail in his bid to garner sufficient support to oust Blatter.
“Blatter is out! This is what we fought for,” the KNVB stated on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the World Players’ Union FIFPro is now hoping that its members will be given a greater say in the running of the game.
“We are deeply committed to achieving this critical outcome in conjunction with all of the game’s key stakeholders,” said the organisation.
“FIFPro insists that only flawless governance will be acceptable to protect the wellbeing of the players and the integrity of the game.
“The reform effort will fail without the direct involvement of the players.”
Finally, former England international Gary Lineker had a typically sarcastic response to the entire affair.