LONDON (AFP) - Football Association chairman Greg Dyke believes Sepp Blatter will be forced to step down immediately after leading FIFA sponsors called for the resignation of the controversial world football chief.
In the latest blow to scandal-hit Blatter's hopes of clinging to his post, Coca-Cola, Visa and McDonald's all issued statements saying he should resign after criminal proceedings were opened against him in Switzerland this week.
Blatter's response was to insist that he is staying in office until February, but the action of the high-profile sponsors will crank up the pressure on him to finally walk away.
Dyke, a long-time critic of Blatter, is convinced this will prove to be the end of the road for the 79-year-old.
"I think this is a game changer. It doesn't matter what Mr Blatter says now - if the people who pay for FIFA want a change they will get a change," Dyke said.
"What is important is that it isn't just about Mr Blatter standing down - it's about making sure there is a comprehensive and effective reform programme. So for those of us who want fundamental change, this is good news."
Swiss prosecutors say Blatter is the target of a probe into "criminal mismanagement" at FIFA, focusing on a 2005 television rights sale to the Caribbean Football Union and a payment of two million Swiss francs ($2 million, 1.8 million euros) made in 2011 to European football chief Michel Platini, the frontrunner to succeed him.
Both Blatter and Platini have strongly denied any wrongdoing.
News that criminal proceedings had been opened against Blatter last week sent fresh shocks through the football world, deepening the crisis that erupted in May, when the US Justice Department indicted 14 people over bribery in football deals worth more than $150 million dating back to 1991.