Sepp Blatter: Fifa president 'must go to restore credibility'

By Dan RoanBBC sports editor
Sepp Blatter
Sepp Blatter was re-elected in 2007 although he only received 186 of the 203 votes cast and was the only candidate

Fifa's credibility cannot be salvaged until Sepp Blatter leaves his role as president, according to a former member of the world governing body's independent governance committee.

Michael Hershman, an expert in transparency, told the BBC: "For the good of the sport Sepp Blatter should leave and let new blood come in.

"It needs a change of leadership. Any time an organisation has gone through years and years of scandal and it has a credibility problem, it's always best for the leaders to change."

Blatter, 78, has been president since 1998, and last month declared his intention to run for re-election, despite promises his current fourth term would be his last, something Hershman described as "unfortunate".

Sepp Blatter in focus
Born: 10 March 1936, Switzerland
Has a degree as Bachelor of Business Administration and Economics from the University of Lausanne
Played football in the Swiss amateur league
Fifa technical director 1975-1981 and general secretary 1981-1998
Was elected as the eighth Fifa president on 8 June, 1998

Speaking at the Qatar-backed International Sport Security conference, Hershman also called for commercial sponsors of Fifa to make a stand.

"I'm very disappointed about the lack of intervention from external stakeholders, in particular sponsors who from time to time issued press releases saying they expect Fifa to conduct itself with integrity.

"But in very few cases have they said 'unless you make the following changes we're going to walk away', and until they do that there's not going to be the kind of change that really needs to happen."

"In general we're reaching a point where people are getting so angry, so frustrated. We're very close to the tipping point, almost past the tipping point."

The IGC - a panel introduced by Blatter in 2011 - advises the organisation on reforms after a series of financial and vote-buying allegations.

"Fifa was the most difficult assignment of my career and probably the most unsatisfactory", Hershman added.

No ruling until spring 2015 - Hans-Joachim Eckert

Fifa has no plans at present to publish a report by former US attorney Michael Garcia into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments. Hershman called for it to be made public, with the names of some witnesses redacted to protect them.

"I would like to see Fifa release the report with appropriate protection for people's privacy," Hershman added.

"Without the release of a report, Fifa is going to continue to be ridiculed for lack of a commitment to transparency.

Hershman was surprised that, after a number of Fifa's executive committee spoke of the need to make the report public, a statement followed a recent meeting to declare there had been no such demands made.

"That gives you some idea of the internal pressures people face within Fifa to tow the line," Hershman added.

"Assuming you can redact the report to prevent privacy violations and to protect the innocent I would like to see the report published."