Former England captain David Beckham has blasted FIFA over the “despicable” corruption allegations which culminated in the resignation of Sepp Blatter as president of world soccer’s governing body.
Blatter unexpectedly announced on Tuesday that he was quitting as FIFA president, just four days after he was re-elected. Former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder Beckham, who was a major figure in England’s failed bid to host the 2018 Would Cup, issued a strongly-worded statement on Wednesday calling for major change at FIFA.
“Some of the things that we now know happened were despicable, unacceptable and awful for the game that we love so much,” Beckham told Sky Sports News HQ. “Football is not owned by a few individuals at the top, it belongs to the millions of people around the world who love this sport. It is time for FIFA to change and we should all welcome it.”
Beckham’s comments came after the extent of the alleged corruption in FIFA — and most notably in the awarding of the 1998 and 2010 World Cups to France and South Africa — came to light ahead of former FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer’s testimony being published by the United States Department of Justice.
The whistleblower admitted he had taken bribes in relation to the awarding of the 1998 and 2010 World Cups. Meanwhile, the White House has also welcomed Blatter’s decision to stand down and said the US investigation would continue “irrespective of any personnel decisions made at FIFA”.
“It’s apparent from recent news reports that they’d benefit from some new leadership,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. “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 added. 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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