BRASILIA, June 2 – Former Brazil star-turned-senator Romario on Wednesday saluted Sepp Blatter’s resignation as FIFA president as “the best news” he’d heard for a long time.
“The best news for ages! Joseph Blatter stepping down as FIFA president represents the beginning of a new era for world football,” Romario said in a post to social media.
The 49-year-old former striker — a World Cup winner in 1994 — has been a bitter critic of world football’s governing body and also the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), blasting them as corrupt and in need of root and branch reform.
Last week, the former striker had lambasted leading figures in the world game as “corrupt” and “thieves” after an FBI probe brought seven arrests, including two FIFA vice presidents, in Switzerland.
One of those detained was Jose Maria Marin, who until April was CBF president.
The arrests followed an FBI probe into what US officials alleged was a $151 million, 24-year bribery scheme.
Romario said after the arrests that he hoped Blatter would also be detained.
In Wednesday’s Facebook post the Brazilian senator wrote that a “tsunami” was breaking over the sport and he hoped it would sweep away those guilty of corruption and see them jailed.
“I now hope that the waters of this big wave will prove sufficient to sweep away all the corruption” at the apex of the game, said Romario.
He noted that Blatter, after insisting he had nothing personally to reproach himself for, had resigned his post after “not withstanding a week of pressure.”
With Blatter gone, he added, “we have a great opportunity to clean up football efectively worldwide” and reform FIFA, an organization which he charged with “transforming itself merely into a money-making machine.”
Football should instead, Romario insisted, seek to fulfil a social mission to “unite peoples and bring down social barriers.”