Football: Fifa president Blatter's critics welcome his resignation

LONDON (AFP, REUTERS) - Sepp Blatter's shock resignation as Fifa president on Tuesday was hailed as "great for football" by one of his chief critics, English Football Association chief Greg Dyke.

Dyke, who told BBC World he had lost faith in Blatter last year, said he thought the 79-year-old Swiss realised the mounting corruption scandal that has engulfed world football's governing body "was getting close to him".

"It is a good afternoon! I think it's brilliant for world football. This is the start of something new," said Dyke.

"The whole organisation of Fifa needs re-structuring. The whole organisation needs looking at financially.

"The future has got to be about transparency but this is great news today."

Michel Platini, the president of the Union of European Football Associations and one of the favourites to replace Blatter, had urged Blatter to resign last week amid the corruption scandal.

Yesterday, he welcomed the resignation and said: "It was a difficult decision. A brave decision. The right decision."

Dyke added that Fifa under Blatter had done some good, including taking the World Cup to Africa for the first time in 2010, but added: "It's all been done under a cloud of corruption and today it ends."

British Secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport John Whittingdale told BBC Radio 5 live: "I hope football can now come together. The chasm was created by Blatter wanting to hang on. Europe was supporting an alternative candidate and as long as he was there it was going to be difficult to move forward.

"I now hope everyone can come together to make the changes required."

Blatter, 79, announced the decision at a news conference in Zurich, six days after the FBI raided a hotel in Zurich and arrested several Fifa officials and just four days after he was re-elected to a fifth term as president.

Blatter said an election to choose a new Fifa president would be held as soon as possible. "Fifa needs profound restructuring," he said.

Fifa, ruled over by Blatter since 1998, was rocked last week by the announcement of a US investigation into alleged widespread financial wrongdoing stretching back for years. Swiss authorities mounted their own criminal probe into the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively.