Platini: Blatter made the right choice

Platini: Blatter made the right choice
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Published June 2nd, 2015 - 23:04 GMT via

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Platini welcomes the resignation of Blatter
Platini welcomes the resignation of Blatter

European football chief Michel Platini welcomed the resignation of FIFA chief Joseph Blatter along with other major players of the continent.

"It was a difficult decision, a brave decision and the right decision," Platini said in a short statement on the UEFA website.

UEFA and Platini were the main adversaries of Blatter at the FIFA presidential elections on Friday in Zurich where Blatter beat Jordanian challenger Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein by 133-73 votes at the FIFA congress and Prince Ali withdrew ahead of a second round of voting.

Platini had urged Blatter in vain to stand down ahead of the electipn. However, he did not run himself for the presidency.

Blatter's FIFA is under major fire over various corruption cases and seven football officials were arrested last week in Zurich ahead of the FIFA congress in connection with a US-led criminal investigation.

FIFA are alleged to have forwarded a 10-million dollar payment from South Africa to the Caribbean in connection ahead of their election as 2010 World Cup hosts.

In addition, Swiss authorities are probing the World Cup host election for 2018 and 2022.

England's FA chief Greg Dyke also welcomed Blatter's decision four days after the stormy congress.

"We welcome today's announcement and believe it is good news for world football and FIFA," Dyke said in a statement.

"Change at the very top of FIFA is the necessary first step in delivering real reform of the organisation.

"We will now commit ourselves to play whatever role we can to support a positive transformation of FIFA for the benefit of all its members."

England were on the forefront of the opposition to Blatter, with their FIFA excutive committee member David Gill refusing to take the post after Blatter was re-elected.

German football supremo Wolfgang Niersbach joined the executive committee despite the controversy but also expressed relief.

"It is a the right decision and long overdue," Niersbach said. "It is tragic that he didn't spare himself and us all of this and did it earlier."

However, Niersbach added that not all problems within FIFA are solved with Blatter's planned resignation.

German football icon Franz Beckenbauer, who won the World Cup as a coach and a player and was on the excutive board when it elected Russia and Qatar the next World Cup hosts and is to be questioned by Swiss authorities about the vote, also chimed in.

"It was a sensible decision by Sepp Blatter. The pressure was getting too big. He would have never found peace, regardless whether he was guilty of the scandals or not. FIFA's problem is within its system," said Beckenbauer.

European media welcomed Blatter's annoucement, with Germany's Bild screaming on its website: "FIFA bomb, Blatter resignation."

French sports daily l'Equipe simply said on its webiste: "Blatter, Game over."

© 2015 dpa GmbH

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