Sepp Blatter resigns as FIFA president

(AGI) Zurich, June 2 - Sepp Blatter announced his resignationas president of FIFA on Tuesday and said that elections for hissuccessor would be held as soon as possible. The surprisestatement from the 79 year-old Swiss came during a pressconference in Zurich, four days after his re-election by theFIFA congress and six days after the arrests of seven leadersof the federation at the request of the FBI. His number two,Secretary General Jerome Valcke, was believed to havetransferred 10 million dollars in 2008 to former vice presidentJack Warner, said U.S. federal prosecutors in

(AGI) Zurich, June 2 - Sepp Blatter announced his resignationas president of FIFA on Tuesday and said that elections for hissuccessor would be held as soon as possible. The surprisestatement from the 79 year-old Swiss came during a pressconference in Zurich, four days after his re-election by theFIFA congress and six days after the arrests of seven leadersof the federation at the request of the FBI. His number two,Secretary General Jerome Valcke, was believed to havetransferred 10 million dollars in 2008 to former vice presidentJack Warner, said U.S. federal prosecutors in Brooklyn. Thiswas the amount South Africa admitted it "spent" as acontribution, and not a bribe, to secure the 2010 World Cup. MrValcke said in an email that he had not authorised the paymentand did not have the power to do so, reported the New YorkTimes. FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer, explained that it wasthe former head of the Finance Committee, Julio Grondona, whodied last year, who authorised the payment which was "executedin accordance with the organisation regulations". Theregulations state, "the secretary general is responsible formaintaining the organisation's accounts and has the authorityto make transactions", the New York Times reported. FIFAannounced that Mr Valcke - currently not under investigation -will not attend the Women's World Cup due to start in Canada onJune 6, as originally planned: "It is important that he attendsto matters at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich," the organisationsaid in a press release. Former vice president Warner, who wasarrested in Trinidad and Tobago and then released on bail, isone of the 14 FIFA executives accused by the U.S. JusticeDepartment of handling bribes of over 150 million dollars. . .