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Fifa official urges Blatter not to go back on quit promise

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The head of Fifa's audit and compliance unit said on Sunday that changes at the top of world football's governing body were "indispensable" following reports Sepp Mr Blatter (pictured)` might go back on his decision to resign.

[PARIS] The head of Fifa's audit and compliance unit said on Sunday that changes at the top of world football's governing body were "indispensable" following reports Sepp Mr Blatter might go back on his decision to resign.

"For me, the reforms are the central topic," wrote Domenico Scala in a statement.

"That is why I think it is clearly indispensable to follow through with the initiated process of president's change as it has been announced." Scala's statement came after Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag cited an anonymous source close to Mr Blatter as saying he had not ruled out the prospect of going back on his decision to resign after receiving messages of support from Asian and African federations.

When contacted by AFP, Fifa and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) stuck to their official positions, that Mr Blatter had announced his resignation on June 2 and that the CAF had taken due note.

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On Thursday, the European Parliament called on Mr Blatter to step down immediately and allow for an interim leader to launch reforms in the organisation.

But Fifa have repeated that the 79-year-old Swiss will continue in office until a successor is designated, probably by the end of the year.

An extraordinary meeting of the Fifa Executive Committee will take place in Zurich on July 20, when a date will be fixed for the congress at which Mr Blatter's successor will be elected.

It is likely to take place between December this year and March 2016, according to the audit unit that supervises the electoral procedure.

Mr Blatter was reelected late last month in Zurich for a fifth term as president, only three days after 14 Fifa officials and partners were charged as part of a corruption investigation led by US authorities.

But four days after that he announced his resignation.

According to Swiss media, Mr Blatter has been in a relaxed mood despite the scandal which has engulfed the body he has headed since 1998.

One report claimed that he is even pondering hiring top lawyer Lorenz Erni, who was the man who helped film director Roman Polanski avoid extradition to the United States in 2009/2010.

In another twist late Sunday, the BBC quoted a "source close to Mr Blatter" as saying the Swiss could make a bid to stay on if no suitable alternative candidate emerges.

"Everything is open", said the source who added that Mr Blatter will hold meetings over the coming days to gauge whether or not he still retains enough support.

Meanwhile, Morocco on Sunday denounced the "slanderous accusations" made by former North American football chief Chuck Blazer that they offered bribes in order to secure the 1998 World Cup.

"Morocco denies categorically the slanderous accusations against members of the Moroccan bid committee," said a joint statement released by the country's Olympic committee and football federation.

"These allegations are aimed at tarnishing the image of a country that has always placed respect for the values of integrity and fairness among its founding principles." Blazer admitted in court testimony released earlier this month that he conspired with fellow FIFA executives to accept bribes during the process to choose hosts for the 1998 and 2010 World Cups.

The 1998 World Cup was eventually awarded to France, ahead of a bid by Morocco.

AFP

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