Zurich: Sepp Blatter on Tuesday resigned as president of FIFA as a mounting corruption scandal engulfed world football's governing body.

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The 79-year-old Swiss official, FIFA president for 17 years and only reelected on Friday, said a special congress would be called as soon as possible to elect a successor.

Sepp Blatter
Sepp Blatter

Blatter said that the scandal-tainted FIFA needs "profound reconstruction" and that he had "thoroughly reconsidered" his presidency since his reelection. He added that the vote "does not seem to be supported by everybody in the world of football."

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His resignation came less than a week after Swiss police arrested seven FIFA officials, including two vice presidents, at a Zurich hotel. The arrests were carried out on behalf of US prosecutors who accuse the seven, and eight other suspects, of involvement in $150 million of bribes.

Blatter told the news conference: “I will organise an extraordinary congress for a replacement for me as president. I will not stand. I am now free from the constraints of an election. I will be in a position to focus on profound reforms. For many years we have called for reforms. But these are not sufficient.

“I have thoroughly considered and thought about my presidency and the last 40 years in my life. These years were closely related to FIFA and the wonderful sport of football. I appreciate and love FIFA more than anything else.

“I only want to do the best for FIFA and my institution. I decided to stand again as the best option for football. The elections are closed but the challenges we face haven’t come to an end.”

Blatter’s announcement comes after FIFA has admitted it paid 10million USD destined for the South Africa World Cup to an account controlled by the disgraced former vice-president Jack Warner. The payment followed a letter from the South African FA to FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke.