Today’s shocking resignation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter hasn’t come as a big surprise to Barbados Football Association (BFA) head, Randy Harris.
While the rest of the world was left stunned by the news that the 79-year-old Swiss –– who was re-elected to serve his fifth term only last Friday –– had stepped down amidst FIFA corruption allegations and indictments, Harris told Barbados TODAY he felt Blatter’s resignation was the best way forward for FIFA.
“I am not surprised about it. I don’t think that people in the West Indies understand the kind of pressure he was under from last week when the development broke about the scandal.
“If you remember, I had said that a number of people who had said they had no doubts about voting for him, began to look at the position of re-electing him as president of FIFA, because they didn’t think that Mr Blatter being there was the best thing for FIFA at this time,” the BFA head noted.
“At this time based on the amount of pressure and the slant of the allegations, it might have been better for football if president Blatter stepped aside.”
Harris said he believed the move would give FIFA the opportunity to start anew.
He also admitted Blatter’s resignation would help to change the perception which most people presently hold of the world governing body.
“I don’t know if I would call it a new FIFA, but obviously with his resignation the corporate world and the global opinion of FIFA would now change somewhat,” Harris acknowledged.
And while a new president won’t be elected until new elections are held, Harris already knows who he would like to see as FIFA’s new head.
“Michel Platini,” he hastily said.
When asked why, he explained: “Well obviously as a former top footballer, coach and administrator, I think he has a lot of policies to take football forward. Not only for big countries such as Europe and North America, but also for the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.
“If he becomes president, we may even see better developmental programmes for developing regions such as the Caribbean, based on our discussions,” Harris acknowledged.
In announcing his exit, Blatter called for an extraordinary FIFA congress “as soon as possible” to elect a new president.
His resignation comes on the heels of what has been described as the biggest sporting scandal in history, with seven high ranking FIFA officials being arrested and several others facing indictments, following last week’s corruption and racketeering allegations.
Among those facing extradition to the United States are former CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb and former FIFA vice-president Austin “Jack” Warner.
“FIFA needs a profound restructuring,” Blatter said at a quickly assembled news conference in Zurich.
“While I have a mandate from the membership of FIFA, I do not feel that I have a mandate from the entire world of football –– the fans, the players, the clubs, the people who live, breathe and love football as much as we all do at FIFA.”
With FIFA’s next ordinary meeting slated for next year in Mexico City, Blatter has asked for an earlier meeting to be convened.
“The next ordinary FIFA congress will take place on 13 May, 2016 in Mexico City.This would create unnecessary delay and I will urge the executive committee to organize an extraordinary congress for the election of my successor at the earliest opportunity,” Blatter said.
That meeting is expected to take place between December 2015 and March 2016.
Meanwhile, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan – whom Blatter beat to earn his fifth term – has said he remains at the disposal of the national associations for the new FIFA election.
”I am always there to serve football and I think that’s the most important thing and to do so much work to fix this organization in a proper way,” he stated.