Two days after becoming the face of soccer corruption, disgraced FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Thursday he has already started working on ways to clean up the sport's governing body.
Blatter, who announced his decision to resign on Tuesday as the FIFA corruption crisis continues to build and spread around the world, tweeted a photo of himself sitting in a leather chair with a light blue jacket and no tie.
- Joseph S Blatter (@SeppBlatter) June 4, 2015
FIFA has been plunged into crisis for more than a week, ever since seven officials were arrested at a luxury Zurich hotel ahead of the FIFA congress. They were among 14 people indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on corruption charges.
A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, has said that the 79-year-old Blatter is a target of the investigation. Blatter has not been officially implicated in the case.
In his statement on Thursday, the first since calling for new elections to find a successor, Blatter said he met with FIFA audit panel chairman Domenico Scala "to establish a framework for action and a timetable" for his final months.
He made no mention of his status as a target of the American investigation. Instead, he kept the short statement focused on reforming an organization he has presided over for 17 years.
"I want a comprehensive program of reform and I am very aware that only the FIFA Congress can pass these reforms," Blatter said in the statement.
In a separate investigation, Swiss authorities are looking into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests won by Russia and Qatar.
In his resignation speech on Tuesday, Blatter promised a final round of modernising reforms before leaving office. That includes finding a date for a presidential election by next March.
He also pledged to bring in term limits for his successor and FIFA executive committee members, and tougher integrity checks for election candidates.
Blatter's statement came after separate investigations into soccer corruption were opened in South Africa and Australia, and after the headquarters of the Venezuelan Football Federation was raided by military intelligence officers.
Venezuela's public prosecutor's office said agents raided the offices on Wednesday to gather evidence for a criminal investigation.
The organisation's former head, Rafael Esquivel, was detained in Switzerland last week along with six other FIFA officials accused of taking bribes.
The raid came hours after the prosecutor's office asked that Esquivel's bank accounts be frozen as he is investigated for money laundering.
Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro has expressed support for the public prosecutor's actions against Esquivel even as he's raised concerns about the role of the U.S. in the larger investigation.
Esquivel, 68, may face extradition to the United States.
In other news surrounding the scandal, the New York Times has asked a U.S. federal judge to make public the government's plea agreement with former FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer.
In a motion filed on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York, the paper said the plea agreement should be made available under rights attached to federal common law and the First Amendment.
The plea agreement was referenced in a 40-page transcript of Blazer's November 2013 plea hearing, which was unsealed on Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie ordered the government to respond by Tuesday. Blazer, the former No. 2 official of soccer in CONCACAF, forfeited over $1.9 million at the time of his pleas to 10 counts of racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, income tax evasion, and failure to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. He agreed to pay a second amount to be determined at the time of sentencing.
A separate motion by the Times to unseal the plea agreement of Daryll Warner, a son of former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner, was denied on Thursday by U.S. District Judge William F. Kuntz II.