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Blatter may seek to stay as Fifa boss, source tells Swiss paper

[GENEVA] Sepp Blatter may seek to stay on as the president of world soccer organisation FIFA, a Swiss newspaper reported on Sunday, less than two weeks after Blatter resigned over a major corruption scandal at the organisation.

Mr Blatter is under pressure to step down for good as US and Swiss authorities widened their investigations into bribery and corruption at the sport's global governing body. EU lawmakers are among those calling for his immediate departure.

But according to the Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper, Mr Blatter had received messages of support from African and Asian football associations, asking him to rethink his decision to step down.

Mr Blatter was honoured by the support and had not ruled out remaining in office, the newspaper said, citing an anonymous source close to him.

Mr Blatter said on June 2 he would step down as FIFA president in the wake of the corruption investigation, having led soccer's world governing body since 1998.

Fifa, in an emailed statement, referred Reuters to the speech Blatter made on June 2 and said they had "no further comment to make".

In his speech, Mr Blatter said: "I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective Congress. I will continue to exercise my functions as Fifa President until that election." He also added: "Since I shall not be a candidate, and am therefore now free from the constraints that elections inevitably impose, I shall be able to focus on driving far-reaching, fundamental reforms that transcend our previous efforts." However, Mr Blatter has changed his mind in the past. When he began his fourth mandate in 2011, he said it would be his last, but he later backed down, stood again and was re-elected in May.

Fifa is expected to pick his replacement at an extraordinary congress in Zurich between December and February.

Mr Blatter's renewed interest in the job was also a reason for the departure of Walter de Gregorio as Fifa's director of communications, since he had argued for a completely new start and advised Mr Blatter to go, the Swiss newspaper said.