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White House cautiously hails Blatter exit

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

WASHINGTON, June 4- The White House on Wednesday gave a cautious endorsement of Sepp Blatter’s resignation as head of world football governing body FIFA, saying it offered a chance to clean up the organization.

“This is an organization that is responsible for managing the affairs of a sport that is closely followed by literally billions of people across the globe,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

“It’s apparent from recent news reports that they’d benefit from some new leadership.”

While football — or soccer — has a limited following in the United States, the country’s Department of Justice has led the criminal investigation that prompted Blatter’s departure from FIFA.

“This is an opportunity for that organization to try to improve their public image and to make sure that the actions of that organization are consistent with their mission,” Earnest said.

The US investigation will continue “irrespective of any personnel decisions made at FIFA” Earnest said.

As well as investigating allegations of widespread bribery, US media have reported that prosecutors are looking at FIFA’s decision to host upcoming world cups in Russia and Qatar.

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