Blatter resigns after all
Fifa President Joseph Blatter announced his resignation on Tuesday but intends to remain in office until his successor is elected. According to media reports Blatter is now also under investigation for corruption. Courageous journalists and lawyers have brought down the boss of the international football association, some commentators applaud. For others Blatter's guilt has yet to be proven.
Press and judicary the most valuable players
Uefa President Michel Platini has called Blatter's resignation courageous. The liberal daily Le Soir finds such praise inappropriate, arguing that it was others who showed true grit: "The real credit for putting an end to the rule of a despot goes to the judiciary and the press. They created a breach in the system in which power is confiscated by some and taxpayers' money is used to enrich a caste that deems itself above the law. ... Who can forget the disdain with which Blatter and numerous leaders from the worlds of politics and football (notably in France) treated the journalists who uncovered Fifa's dirty deeds. Blacklisted and threatened with reprisals, the press nevertheless chose to investigate, and is the only player in this game that deserves the adjective 'courageous'. Together with the judiciary, which received the pass and put the ball into the net."
Lonely Blatter capitulates
Loneliness and fatigue and not the corruption investigations are the reason for Blatter's resignation, the liberal daily Corriere del Ticino writes in defence of the Fifa boss: "To interpret this surprise resignation as an admission of guilt is wrong in our opinion, particularly since the facts remain unclear and the investigation is far from having proved Blatter's involvement in the scandal. … Blatter has capitulated out of exhaustion. Worn down by the growing pressure he had no choice but to throw himself to the dogs. … Despite his fame and power the president was a lonely man. And despite his re-election at the Fifa congress he realised that he could no longer steer an organisation full of deviants and greedy vultures. The prophecy made by his predecessor [João] Havelange has been fulfilled: you have created a monster, he warned. The monster has turned against its creator."
Blatter must go now
Joseph Blatter must leave immediately rather than waiting for a new Fifa president to be elected in a few months' time, the liberal daily The Guardian demands: "Until Mr Blatter goes there can be no real progress on the root and branch reform of the whole governing superstructure of world football that is so urgently required to begin the process of rebuilding trust and confidence. He must hand over to an interim president, and go now. ... So Fifa 2.0 must have genuinely strong and effective internal safeguards built in. Even more radically, the business of the World Cup could be divorced from the charitable affair of disbursing money to new footballing nations."
Fifa gets a chance for renewal
The leadership crisis at Fifa should be used to correct the problems in international football, the conservative daily La Vanguardia comments: "Blatter's resignation as Fifa's boss offers a unique opportunity to renew the institution that determines the fate of football. Over the course of the 40 years of the last two Fifa presidencies - those of João Havelange and Joseph Blatter - football has become an extraordinary money-making machine. Under both presidencies all kinds of reprehensible practices have flourished, from buying votes to secure the presidency or to make sure a country gets to host an international event, to the disappearance (into the pockets of certain Fifa bosses) of funds that were destined to promote children's football in third world countries."