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Blatter's departure will not change Fifa: ex-Uefa offical

Fifa President Sepp Blatter addresses a news conference at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland on June 2, 2015.

[GENEVA] Changing Fifa presidents will not root out corruption at football's world body, a former Uefa official said Sunday, insisting that corrupt practices had nothing to do with exiting Fifa chief Sepp Blatter.

"The corruption, in my opinion, has nothing to do with Blatter's person," former Uefa vice president Freddy Rumo told Swiss public broadcaster RTS.

If Fifa aims to eradicate corruption, "the solution of replacing a president with another will have basically zero effect," he said.

His comments came amid a corruption scandal engulfing football's world governing body, centring around 14 current or former Fifa officials and sports marketing executives accused by US prosecutors of taking part in a sweeping kickbacks scheme going back 20 years involving a total of US$150 million in bribes.

The scandal, which also involves a Swiss probe into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, has led to the resignation of long serving FIFA boss Sepp Blatter last week, just four days after his reelection for a fifth successive term.

Mr Rumo said that Mr Blatter's departure could lead to organisational changes and could spell the end of a system where the president enjoyed "almost papal status" and was "practically elected for life".

But it would not affect the corrupt practices that are basically endemic at Fifa and elsewhere where large sums of money change hands.

He pointed out that Fifa is made up of more than 200 national federations and six continental confederations, and that it is the executive council that officially makes tricky decisions like who will be asked to host a World Cup.

"Each time there is an awarding of an important competition, there is always the temptation towards corruption," he said.

"The higher the stakes... the higher the amounts fuelling this corruption mechanism," he said, stressing this was not just a problem at Fifa.

Mr Rumo meanwhile said he had been "shocked" by Blatter's decision to resign after resisting calls to do so before his reelection.

And he rejected suggestions that Uefa chief Michel Platini, who asked Blatter to his face to quit ahead of the vote, should take over at the Fifa helm.

"Certainly not," he said, pointing out that Mr Platini had "not had the courage to face Blatter in an open vote." "I don't think Mr Platini is a competent person... He is not credible," he said.