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Chancellor Merkel welcomes FIFA boss Blatter's resignation

Calling for a "clean break" from corruption, German Chancellor Merkel has made her first public statement on Sepp Blatter's resignation. Whether Blatter was personally involved in the bribery scandal remains unknown.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed FIFA boss Sepp Blatter's resignation as a step toward restoring the reputation of international football. She said that FIFA had an opportunity now to create more transparency after the corruption charges and related

arrests were brought forward by US investigators and Interpol

in recent days.

"It will be easier now to base FIFA's efforts on a more transparent foundation," she told reporters at a press conference in Berlin.

Chancellor Merkel said that for billions of football fans, among which she counted herself, it would be much-welcome news if FIFA started to function "according to the standards that we all wish for ourselves."

The statement marked Merkel's first public announcement in which she took a stand on Blatter's resignation. Last week, Merkel had already called for FIFA to make a clean break with corruption but had stopped short of saying that Blatter should resign. In contrast, UK Prime Minister David Cameron had publicly backed calls for Blatter to resign, saying "the sooner that happens the better."

"Frankly, what we have seen is the ugly side of the beautiful game," the Prime Minister had said during a visit to Germany last week.

The resignation of the 79-year-old incumbent president came after US investigators had signaled that Blatter may be next to face accusations of bribery. US Attorney General Loretta Lynch declined to comment on Blatter's resignation or whether he was himself under investigation.

"It's an open case and so we will now be speaking through the courts," she said.

One of most powerful people in sports, Blatter ruled over the world's richest sporting federation for the past 17 years, and had just won a fifth term in a

controversial election

held last week. After renewed criticism of his reign over FIFA and new corruption revelations about world football's governing body, Blatter announced that he would step down. His successor, however, isn't expected to be elected until late in the early or in early 2016.

ss/kms (dpa, AFP, AP, Reuters)

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