Football Federation Australia has welcomed FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s shock resignation, labelling it the first step toward changing the culture of soccer’s governing body.
But there is also pressure FFA chairman Frank Lowy’s resignation, with prominent journalist Andrew Jennings calling on Frank Lowy to step down immediately following the FIFA scandal.
The investigative reporter, best known for his efforts to expose corruption at FIFA, made the startling call in the wake of last week’s arrests.
The shopping centre tycoon is seen by many as a key figure in resurrecting soccer in Australia since being elected chairman of the FFA in 2003.
But according to Jennings, Australia’s failed government-funded $46 million bid for the 2022 World Cup, which was ultimately controversially awarded to Qatar, should force his exit.
“I think Frank Lowy should resign immediately, he’s led Australian football into disaster,” he told the ABC.
Blatter announced his resignation on Wednesday (AEST), just days after winning a fifth term as president at a vote in Zurich, amid worldwide turmoil following the arrest of officials on corruption charges.
The corruption scandal, which has engulfed soccer on a global scale, has led to the arrest of nine officials and five sports media and promotions executives, and involves accusations of bribes totalling more than $US150 million ($A192.91 million).
Jennings alleges Australia has not been immune to this side of the beautiful game, pointing to a $US500,000 ($A643,000) payment he alleges was put in the “private bank account” of disgraced former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, who is among 14 to have been indicted over corruption allegations.
“FIFA needs fresh leadership and the resignation of the president is a first step,” FFA said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The challenge is not just to change the top elected position, but the governance structure at all levels and the culture that underpins it.
“Australia will remain an active voice within the forums of FIFA and AFC in promoting governance reform and a new era of transparency.”
FFA voted against Blatter’s re-election, a move at odds with its regional body, the Asian Football Confederation.