Despite offering his resignation earlier this month, FIFA president Sepp Blatter is reportedly considering remaining at the head of soccer’s international governing body, according to Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag.
Michael Hershman, FIFA’s former governance adviser, hinted earlier this month that Blatter could reconsider, telling Jeremy Schaap that he wasn’t sure Blatter would actually step down.
In its story on Saturday, the Swiss paper reported that a source close to Blatter said the embattled president had gotten “messages of support from African and Asian football associations” that requested he reevaluate the decision to leave office.
During Blatter’s nearly 20-year tenure, FIFA has dedicated funding and other attention to football associations throughout Africa and Asia, regions from where much of his support in presidential balloting has come.
The 79-year-old announced his resignation after a series of surprising indictments and were handed down by US courts against a number of current and former officials in connection to a $150 million bribery scheme related to FIFA’s finances and the awarding of tournaments, including World Cups, to member nations and organizations. Many of them were arrested in late May.
Blatter himself was not named in any of the indictments. He was elected to a fifth term just two days after the charges and arrests were made.
FIFA plans to pick a date for a new presidential election in July, and members of the European Parliament have called on the Blatter to leave office sooner rather than later.
However, it is not clear who among those trying to take Blatter’s office could earn a majority of voters.
While Blatter himself was not named in the probe, some officials close to him were. US officials reportedly believe that Jerome Valcke, Blatter’s chief deputy, sent a $10 million bribe to former FIFA official Jack Warner.
Valcke has denied the charge and is yet to be formally accused.
Warner, who has been charged, has criticized the investigation and is fighting extradition from Trinidad and Tobago.