SFA welcomes decision by Sepp Blatter to quit

Sepp Blatter said a special congress would be called to elect a successor. Picture: Getty

Sepp Blatter said a special congress would be called to elect a successor. Picture: Getty

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SCOTTISH FA chief executive Stewart Regan last night welcomed Sepp Blatter’s decision to step down as Fifa president and said he was keen to discuss how to reform world football’s governing body when he meets with other Uefa associations in Berlin this weekend.

Blatter staged an impromptu press conference at 5:45pm BST in Zurich to make the stunning announcement that he was walking away from his post, just four days after he won a fifth term of office.

“Football’s governing body needs reformed. We are glad Blatter now shares that view”

Stewart Regan

The 79-year-old Swiss has called an extraordinary congress to elect a new president.

“The Scottish FA welcomes the news today that Sepp Blatter has confirmed his intention to step down as president of Fifa and convene an extraordinary congress to elect a replacement,” Regan said in a statement.

“We, like many other national associations, have maintained that the governance of world football’s governing body requires to be reformed – especially in light of recent allegations – and we are glad Mr Blatter now shares this view. We will discuss today’s developments and any collective next steps with all other Uefa associations at next weekend’s Champions League final in Berlin.”

In an interview with BBC Radio Scotland last night, Regan expressed his wish that the game can now be “rebuilt at a global level”. In the specific case of Blatter, he added: “It is difficult to know what has made him come to this decision – the tsunami of frenzied interest in the story perhaps made Blatter realise he doesn’t have the support of football players, fans and other associations.”

On the subject of whether the World Cup should still be going to Russia and Qatar in 2018 and 2022 respectively, Regan added that there was, to date, “no evidence of any wrong-doing”.

Jamie Hepburn, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, also welcomed Blatter’s decision.

He told STV: “As president, Sepp Blatter is responsible for what happens at Fifa. I welcome his resignation, and hope that it signals a fresh start for Fifa, and that a change of leadership will help Fifa to begin to recover its reputation and regain our confidence in the way the global game is run.

“Recent arrests of senior Fifa officials on charges of alleged corruption are deeply concerning for anyone who cares about football. The World Cup is too important to be tarnished with scandal and suggestions of criminal behaviour. I support the calls of Stewart Regan, chief executive of the Scottish FA, for fundamental and urgent changes to the way Fifa is governed.”

Blatter’s fall comes amid a widening corruption scandal. His re-election on Friday came two days after a corruption crisis erupted and seven Fifa officials were arrested in Zurich ahead of the organisation’s congress.

The final straw seems to have come when Fifa was forced to admit that it had paid $10 million destined for the South Africa World Cup to an account controlled by the disgraced former vice-president Jack Warner.

The payment followed a letter from the South African FA to Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke. The money is being investigated as a World Cup votes bribe by the FBI.

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