Fifa president Sepp Blatter insists that the organisation is not corrupt and says that he stepped down from his position so as to protect the sport’s governing body.
Blatter has held his position since 1998, but his tenure has been marred by repeated allegations of bribery – even prior to the arrest of Fifa officials by Swiss and American authorities in May.
The 79-year-old was re-elected in the midst of the scandal, but announced his intention to relinquish his mandate as president on June 2 – less than a week after nine Fifa officials were indicted on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and corruption.
Blatter’s replacement will be elected at an Extraordinary Congress in February and the current incumbent was unequivocal in his response to suggestions that Fifa has been tarnished by the recent allegations.
“That’s not true, this has been created. The institution is not corrupt – there is no corruption in football,” he told BBC Sport.
“There is corruption with individuals, there is not a general organised corruption.
“It is with people, the institution Fifa is not corrupt. It’s not the institution, that’s why I can’t understand why the world’s media say Fifa is corrupt.”
Blatter also offered his reasoning for stepping down, adding: “I did it because I wanted to protect Fifa. I can protect myself. I am strong enough.
“I know what I have done, what I have not done, I have my conscience and I know I’m an honest man.
“I am clean. I am not a worried man.”