Sepp Blatter will step down, confirms there was sponsor pressure for him to leave

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Despite suggestions that Sepp Blatter could turn around and try to remain in power, it would appear that’s off the table.

In an interview with Swiss paper Wallister Bote, Blatter spoke frankly about his decision to step down as FIFA president and called the move “liberating” for himself and the organization.

“It was the only way to take away the pressure from FIFA and my employees, including [pressure] from the sponsors,” Blatter said. “To remove FIFA and me personally from the line of fire.” He called the events in late May and the days to follow and “earthquake” within the organization.

When asked about the possibility of him pulling a 180 and returning to office, Blatter still did not use the word ‘resign’ but said, “I am not a candidate, but the elected president. And I want to hand over FIFA in good condition.”

Blatter said the extraordinary congress to hold the next election will likely begin in “early 2016” to keep from interfering with the Club World Cup to be held in mid-December.

“I am not yet having many thoughts about this, and am not worrying,” he said. “The decision to go is definitely liberating. For FIFA and for myself.”

Blatter got metaphorical when asked what he will do with his final months in office, saying he will try and go out with a bang. “I am still president of FIFA and fully capable of acting. FIFA and football have been the most important part of my life for 40 years,” Blatter said. “So I will use all my strength and inspiration up to my last working day to steer the ship back into the safe harbor.”

He then touched on a few reforms he would like to work on, which are suddenly and conveniently placed as he is preparing to leave. He mentioned an expansion of the executive committee, and reforms preventing narcissism within FIFA in an effort to keep people from simply passing positions between one another.