Red card for FIFA is just the start

CRITICS of FIFA boss Sepp Blatter have rejoiced at his decision to stand down from the presidency as the crisis surrounding the sport's body widened.

In announcing indictments against 14 football and sports marketing officials last week on allegations of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering, Richard Comey, head of the criminal investigation division of the US Internal Revenue Service, said: "This really is the World Cup of fraud, and today we are issuing FIFA a red card".

US Attorney-General Loretta Lynch said the arrests, which included seven FIFA officials, were just the beginning.

The problem for Blatter was, he presided over an organisation that critics had argued for years lacked transparency, but he refused to take action or responsibility.

Ignoring calls to stand down prior to last Friday's presidential vote, the reaction to his announcement was hardly surprising.

Football Federation Australia, which voted against Blatter, released a statement saying: "FIFA needs fresh leadership and the resignation of the President is a first step".

UEFA boss Michel Platini said the decision was: " ... a difficult decision, a brave decision, and the right decision".

One of FIFA's most strident critics during Blatter's reign has been England's Football Association.

Chairman Greg Dyke (pictured) told the BBC he was thrilled by the news.

"This is great news for football. It should have happened years ago," Dyke said.

"There has to be a root-and-branch investigation of FIFA. It has all got to be transparent in the future."

- APN SPORTS BUREAU


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