ZURICH: Domico Scala, the one man standing between FIFA and the football abyss, has put his foot down after suggestions in a Swiss newspaper that Sepp Blatter might be considering changing his mind and running again for the presidency of the world football federation writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Blatter was elected for a fifth term by FIFA Congress on May 29 in Zurich then, four days later, announced an intention to resign. An extraordinary congress will be staged, probably in December, for the sole purpose of holding a new election.
Amid concerns of a divisive split between Europe/North America and Africa/Asia the prospects of a decisive victory for any new candidate – even UEFA president Michel Platini – have been questioned.
An article by editor-in-chief Patrick Muller in Schweiz am Sonntag suggested that Blatter had been approached from within both Asia and Africa to think again about “laying down his mandate.”
The newspaper also claimed that Blatter’s reconsideration of his resignation was a central factor in the sudden departure from FIFA in midweek of communications director Walter De Gregorio “who pleaded internally for a new beginning in every way and advised Blatter to step down with immediate effect.”
Scala, independent chairman of the audit and compliance commitment, has insisted that FIFA’s credibility in seeking to rebuild its image depended on Blatter fulfilling his promise to step away after 40 years within the organisation.
In a short, terse statement, Scala said: “The reforms are the key issue for me. Therefore I think it is clearly indispensable, as has been announced, to proceed with implementing the change of command.”
Scala was summoned to join Blatter at the hastily convened press conference at which the 17-year-old announced his impending exit. Four days earlier Scala had warned congress that FIFA needed a dramatic culture change for its own sake and the sake of the game.
FIFA, in response to questions about Muller’s article, pointed to Blatter’s resignation statement in which he said: “I shall not be a candidate.”
However, Blatter’s has a track record for changing on his mind. On his re-election in 2011 he led the world game to believe he would be retiring this year.