Sepp Blatter has stood down with immediate effect!
From the International Olympic Committee.
Soccer isn’t getting rid of the FIFA president that easily, of course. He’s not quitting his day job until 2016. But the de-Seppification of world sports is under way. Blatter’s resigned his IOC membership because he’s presided over an organization embroiled in one of the biggest corruption scandals in governance history…
Wait. No. He resigned because he’s leaving FIFA, and because he’s old.
“He does not deem it to be appropriate to stand for re-election for eight years knowing that after seven months his term would come to an end,” said IOC president Thomas Bach, according to DW. (Eight-year terms? Even Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe only has five-year terms for presidential elections.)
I wouldn’t have pegged him for a day over 76, but Blatter – lithe, sprightly and eternally young though he may seem – is 79, so he’ll hit the IOC’s age limit in March, meaning he’d automatically have to quit at the end of 2016, regardless of his FIFA status. He’s been an IOC member since 1999, the year after he became FIFA prez.
So it would indeed have been ridiculous to elect him for a couple of months. Though presumably that’s exactly what would have happened, the IOC being the kind of place where once elected, one tends to stay elected (nearly half the members have been in their roles longer than Blatter).
“Mr. Blatter wrote me a letter on July 23 informing me that it would be inappropriate to seek another eight-year term as he was retiring from his position at FIFA in seven months when a new president will be selected on Feb. 26,” Bach said.
To be fair, after leaving FIFA it would have been tough for Blatter to juggle the responsibilities of IOC membership with an internship role at an English local radio station.