SEPP BLATTER TO RESIGN AS FIFA PRESIDENT
(P1) FIFA President Sepp Blatter has decided to STEP DOWN as leader of football’s governing body.
(P2) Blatter announced his decision just four days after the FIFA Congress that saw him win a fifth term as the body’s president.
(P3) “I CHERISH FIFA more than anything and I want to do only what is best for FIFA and for football,” Blatter said at a press conference in Zurich on Tuesday.
(P4) “FIFA needs a PROFOUND OVERHAUL. I have decided to lay down my MANDATE as soon as a special presidential election can be held. I will continue to exercise my functions as FIFA president until that election.”
(P5) Domenico Scala, head of FIFA’s independent audit and compliance committee, said there would need to be four months’ notice for any new presidential election.
(P6) “The decision for the timing of the election of the next president will be up to the executive committee and will take place any time from December until March.”
(P7) The unexpected resignation came amid one of the most CONTROVERSIAL episodes in FIFA’s history.
(P8) Seven high-ranking FIFA official were arrested ahead of the football governing body’s meeting last Friday, on financial corruption charges brought by the U.S. government.
(P9) Swiss authorities had launched a separate criminal investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups that are set to be held in Russia and Qatar.
(P10) At the FIFA meeting in Zurich last Friday, Blatter, 79, had been re-elected when his only rival, Jordan’s Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, WITHDREW after gaining 73 votes to Blatter’s 133 in the first round of voting.
(P13) “Arrested for what? Next question,” Blatter said CURTLY, when asked if he feared where the US federal case was heading following his re-election.
(P14) The investigation CLOSED IN on Blatter on Tuesday when FIFA was forced to deny that his right-hand man, Secretary-General Jerome Valcke, was IMPLICATED in a $10m payment that lies at the heart of the U.S. case.
(P15) FIFA said that Valcke, who has been secretary-general since 2007 and is seen as one of the most powerful men in world sport, had no role in the payments, which were authorised by the chairman of FIFA’s Finance Committee, Argentina’s Julio Grondona, who has since died.
(P16) Meanwhile, Switzerland’s office of attorney general (OAG) has confirmed that it was not investigating Blatter. Blatter’s “announced resignation will have no influence on the ongoing criminal proceedings”, the attorney general said in a statement.
(P17) The attorney general had opened criminal proceedings against persons unknown on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and of MONEY LAUNDERING, alongside the US corruption investigation.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- How corrupt do you think FIFA is? Do you think that Sepp Blatter and Jerome Valcke will be arrested?
- Why are the criminal investigations into FIFA being conducted by two countries (so far), the United States and Switzerland?
- Is there any way to keep “big money” out of big international sports like the Olympics and the World Cup?
- Since there are accusations that the locations of the next two World Cups, Russia and Qatar, were chosen as a result of bribery and “black money” payments, what effect do you think that will have on the actual holding of the events?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Step down
- Close in
- Money laundering