ZURICH: Sepp Blatter, unlike in 2011, has confirmed that he really does intend to relinquish the presidency as soon as a successor is elected, probably in December, writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Confusion had arisen over the weekend after a report in Schweiz am Sonntag that the 79-year-old Swiss was having second thoughts about his shock U-turn announced only four days after his re-election last month.

The article had suggested that Blatter was coming under pressure from some African federations – fearful of a ‘UEFA takeover’ – to reverse his decision. Support for Blatter had come recently from Klaus Stoehlker, an old associate who was a behind-the-scenes PR adviser in the run-up to FIFA Congress.

Blatter polled 173 of the 209 votes and was thus mandated for a fifth term in office after the withdrawal of his opponent, Prince Ali of Jordan who had secured 73 votes.

In a short statement, the world football federation said that “Klaus Stoehlker’s mandate from the FIFA president ended on 31 May 2015” and noted that Blatter “would like to point to his remarks from 2 June.”

In his press conference announcing his volte-face, Blatter said:  “I shall not be a candidate.”

Domenico Scala, independent chairman of the audit and compliance committee who is overseeing the transfer of power, had been quick to reject the article’s contention about Blatter’s supposed change of heart.