Sepp Blatter will not stand down as FIFA president despite pressure from Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Visa and Budweiser.
Blatter’s lawyer released a statement which claimed a sudden resignation would not “advance the process of reform” at FIFA – just moments after Coca Cola and McDonald’s urged him to quit.
The 79-year-old had earlier intimated that he would continue in his current role despite criminal proceedings being opened against him.
The Swiss attorney general’s office (OAG) said he was suspected of making a “disloyal payment” of 2 million Swiss francs (£1.4m) to UEFA president Michel Platini.
” While Coca Cola is a valued sponsor of FIFA, Mr Blatter respectfully disagrees with its position and believes firmly that his leaving office now would not be in the best interest of FIFA nor would it advance the process of reform and therefore, he will not resign (statement from Blatter’s lawyer).”
Another turbulent hour in the history of world football’s governing body was sparked when the US beverage giants implored Blatter to resign “so that a credible and sustainable reform process can begin in earnest”.
Those sentiments were quickly echoed by McDonald’s, only for Blatter to swat their concerns away. Visa and Budweiser’s parent company, AB InBev, also backed calls for a resignation later on Friday evening.
A statement from Coca-Cola read: “For the benefit of the game, The Coca-Cola Company is calling for FIFA President Joseph Blatter to step down immediately so that a credible and sustainable reform process can begin in earnest.
“Every day that passes, the image and reputation of FIFA continues to tarnish.
“FIFA needs comprehensive and urgent reform, and that can only be accomplished through a truly independent approach.”
McDonald’s added in an emailed statement: “The events of recent weeks have continued to diminish the reputation of FIFA and public confidence in its leadership.
“FIFA president Sepp Blatter to step down immediately so that the reform process can proceed with the credibility that is needed.”