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DFB boss Niersbach: FIFA needs new president sooner rather than later

The head of Germany's FA is unhappy that Sepp Blatter appears to be set to cling to office for some time after announcing his resignation. He has also criticized FIFA for paying off the Irish FA in a separate incident.

Three days after FIFA President Sepp Blatter shocked the world by announcing that he intended to step down from the post, the president of Germany's DFB soccer federation has said that soccer's world-governing body needed to elect a successor sooner rather than later.

"For me it's incredible the way it happened. You (Sepp Blatter) invite the whole world to a congress, you get re-elected and then four days later you resign, for whatever reason. But it's not an immediate resignation, only an announcement," Wolfgang Niersbach told German public broadcaster ZDF on Friday.

He also suggested that under FIFA's statutes, Blatter could have chosen to resign with immediate effect, in which case Senior Vice President Issa Hayatou would have taken over until an extraordinary congress could be held to elect a permanent replacement. While acknowledging that under FIFA rules four months lead time is needed to set up an extraordinary congress, Niersbach stressed that "everything needs to go much faster."

Asked whether the European confederation, UEFA, needed to look for a strong candidate to back for FIFA president, Niersbach replied: "Yes, that must be the goal." He also suggested that UEFA President Michel Platini could be the man they are looking for.

"In retrospect, when one reflects on all that has gone on… it would have been the ideal solution for Blatter, as promised, to have stepped down after the 2014 World Cup to make way for his protégé, Michel Platini."

'Don't know what to make of it'

Niersbach was also asked about the latest revelation to come out of FIFA in recent days - that it paid the Irish FA to silence complaints about French striker Thierry Henry's handball, which caused Ireland to miss out on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Niersbach said that while the referee's decision "was a true injustice" and that he fully understood why the Irish were outraged, he didn't understand why FIFA would pay the Irish 5 million euros ($5.6 million) to let the issue drop.

"I don't know what to make of this latest incident," Niersbach said. He also scoffed at the idea that the FAI could have won a case had it taken the matter to court.

"No (football) federation in the world would have won such a case before a regular court. It is part of sport, as unjust as it was back then."

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