With FIFA facing its worst crisis in its 111-year history, calls are growing for president Sepp Blatter to step down as the soccer governing body prepares to hold its presidential elections on Friday.
Blatter, who is expected to win re-election, has said he will not quit, blaming the corruption and bribery scandal on a “tiny minority,” but experts say the 79-year-old president who has been at the helm of FIFA since 1998, will need to take “moral responsibility.”
Swiss police on Wednesday detained high-ranking officials from the soccer governing body as part of a U.S. investigation into corruption. Meanwhile, a separate Swiss investigation was also launched in relation to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.
“Whether [Blatter] will go remains to be seen but the outside world and the anti-corruption committee has no doubt that corruption starts from the top,” said Daniel Hough, director of Sussex Center for the Study of Corruption. “So he has to take moral responsibility, even if he does not take legal responsibility.”
However, some feel that the withering attack on Blatter was overdone.
“The fact that [everyone] has jumped on him was to a certain extent a form of bashing [that’s] probably motivated by some who are trying to block the elections,” Jerome Champagne, former FIFA president candidate, told CNBC early Friday.
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