BERLIN: Wolfgang Niersbach, head of the German football federation which hosts tomorrow’s Champions League Final, wants a new FIFA president in place as soon as possible writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Niersbach, one of Europe’s a newly-elected delegates to the world federation executive committee, has been a fierce critic of Sepp Blatter ever since the FIFA president broke his 2011 promise to step down at congress.

Blatter, on announcing his impending resignation on Tuesday, said that he would remain in place until an extraordinary congress had been convened “is six or nine months” to choose his success.

However Niersbach is among an increasing number of senior official who want Blatter removed from the process.

He said; “For me it’s incredible the way it happened. Blatter invites the whole world to a congress, is re-elected and then four days later resigns, for whatever reason – yet it’s not an immediate resignation.

“Everything needs to go forward much faster.”

Niersbach’s comments were echoed by veteran former UEFA president Lennart Johansson who was defeated by Blatter in the 1998 FIFA election.

Johansson said: “He must go immediately. People want us to be clean. You are seeing when he turned up at any match they were booing him. They really showed they were not satisfied.”

Hush money

Niersbach was also scathing about the €5m ‘hush money’ paid by FIFA to avert the Football Association of Ireland launching a legal complaint over the notorious Thierry Henry handball incident in the 2010 World Cup qualifying competition.

Henry’s offence caught referee Martin Hansson unsighted and William Gallas scored the goal which sent France to the finals – denying the Irish, at least, the chance of a penalty shootout.

Niersbach, in his television interview with ZDF, said: [The handball] was a real injustice and I understand why the Irish were upset. But you cannot compensate for such a thing it with money and, in any case, no court would have ruled in their favour.”

** FIFA has confirmed that president Sepp Blatter will not attend International Olympic Committee meeting next week in Lausanne. The event is a briefing concerning the bids from Beijing and Almaty to host the Winter Games in 2022. It is not known whether Blatter will take part in the host city vote on July 31 in Kuala Lumpur.

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