Fifa president is not resigning, but laying down his mandate.
Sepp Blatter has added to speculation that he could remain as Fifa’s president, by saying he was not ready for retirement just yet.
Addressing an audience at the completion of Fifa’s new museum in Zurich, Blatter reiterated that he had not resigned, but will lay down his mandate at a special congress – and added that he was “not ready for a museum, or for a waxwork”.
The 79-year-old was quoted by the Swiss newspaper, Blick, as replying to a question over his future plans by saying: “I have not resigned. I am making my mandate available at an extraordinary congress.”
Talking about the museum, he added: “Only those who know the past can understand the present and shape the future. Or in other words: the ball is round – but only those who come from outer space know the actual dimensions of our sport … For me personally, the museum is a labour of love. But do not get me wrong: I’m not ready for the museum nor for a waxwork yet.”
A Fifa source insisted however that Blatter has no intention of standing as a candidate again, saying: “Nothing has changed, he is not going to stand.”
It follows reports in the Swiss media that Blatter may consider stand for the presidency again after being contacted by supportive national associations.
Speculation that Blatter could perform a U-turn on his decision was initially prompted by comments by communications consultant Klaus Stöhlker, who acted as an advisor to Blatter throughout his re-election campaign. Blatter was re-elected, but within days, announced he was stepping down as Fifa president.
Stöhlker had said that Blatter had a “fair chance” of remaining in power, adding: “It’s hard to find someone who is an equal. Blatter has built the organisation into a global, highly successful company – and he’s a top diplomat.”
Meanwhile, Blatter may not attend the final of the Women’s World Cup in Canada because of the investigations into Fifa by American and Swiss authorities.
Traditionally, he would present the trophy to the winning team, but Fifa will not confirm whether Blatter or secretary general Jerome Valcke will attend.
A Fifa spokesperson said: “In terms of the Fifa president and the Fifa secretary general, their future travel plans will be confirmed in due course.”