LONDON, June 2 – Sepp Blatter’s shock resignation as FIFA president on Tuesday was hailed as “great for football” by one of his chief critics, English FA chief Greg Dyke, who said he suspected a “smoking gun”.
Dyke, who told BBC World he lost faith in Blatter last year, said he thought the 79-year-old Swiss realised the mounting corruption scandal that has engulfed world football’s governing body “was getting close to him”.
“It is a good afternoon! I think it’s brilliant for world football. This is the start of something new,” said Dyke.
“When I left on Friday (when he was reelected for a fifth term) I said ‘this is not over’ – but even I couldn’t have thought it’d be over so soon.
“Why didn’t he step down last week? Clearly there’s a smoking gun of some sort. He’s not been honourable in years. Now he’s gone – let’s celebrate.
“The whole organisation of FIFA needs re-structuring. The whole organisation needs looking at financially.
“The future has got to be about transparency but this is great news today.”
Dyke added that FIFA under Blatter had done some good, including taking the World Cup to Africa for the first time in 2010, but added: “It’s all been done under a cloud of corruption and today it ends.”
However, Dyke said that with Blatter due to go, the hosts of the 2022 World Cup Qatar should be very nervous. One of the two investigations involving FIFA is a Swiss one regarding the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.
“If I was in Qatar I wouldn’t be very confident,” said Dyke, who was involved with the bid for the 2018 edition.
Indeed Dyke said the reason he began to turn against Blatter was down to the latter’s dismissive attitude to an article in The Sunday Times — often a purveyor of stories on FIFA — last year.
“I got very upset with Blatter a year ago after an excellent article in the Sunday Times regarding the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar,” said Dyke.
“He dismissed it as just being racist. I found that offensive and it was then with (Dutch FA president and who withdrew from the presidential race the week before the election) Michael van Praag that we formed a platform against him.”
As regards the future with FIFA Dyke said he was looking for a lot more transparency.
“We want to know where the money went,” he said.
“We don’t know how much Sepp Blatter was paid, his bonuses or his expenses.”
However, Dyke, a former leading television executive with roles including Director-General of the BBC, ruled himself out of being a candidate to replace Blatter.
“My wife might kill me if I did,” he said.
He said, though, that the next president would have to be pure as driven snow.
“They must have an impeccable character and be able to run an organisation where corruption has been rife for years… a lot of people could do the job.”
British Secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport John Whittingdale told BBC Radio 5 live: “I hope football can now come together. The chasm was created by Blatter wanting to hang on. Europe was supporting an alternative candidate and as long as he was there it was going to be difficult to move forward.
“I now hope everyone can come together to make the changes required.”