Sepp Blatter to stand down as FIFA chief

Corruption scandal engulfs president

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is to step down from his position at the head of football's governing body.

Elected for a fifth term last week, he says a special congress will be called as soon as possible to elect a new chief.

The 79-year-old told a press conference in Zurich that following the arrests of senior officials, and an election where he faced a serious challenge from Prince Ali, "My mandate does not appear to be supported by everybody."

FIFA, the world governing body for football, was shaken last week by a series of arrests on behalf of US authorities on accusations of wire fraud and racketeering.

Swiss authorities are also investigating the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively; while Britain's Serious Fraud Office has also announced that it is to look into FIFA activities in the UK.

Swiss-born Blatter has proved a controversial figurehead at FIFA, but he is much admired in the developing world where football associations have benefited from the organisation's largesse at grass-roots level.

"I am very much linked to Fifa and its interests. Those interests are dear to me and this is why I am taking this decision. What counts most to me is the institute of Fifa and football around the world," Blatter said as he announced his resignation.