Outgoing FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who announced Tuesday afternoon that he plans to quit the job, is the focus of a federal corruption investigation, The New York Times reported, citing U.S. law enforcement officials.
Blatter has distanced himself from allegations of corruption at FIFA since Swiss police arrested seven soccer officials last week as part of probes in the United States and Switzerland. He has not been charged with any wrongdoing, and the Swiss Attorney General's office said Tuesday it was not investigating Blatter.
U.S. officials told the newspaper they had hoped to gain cooperation from some FIFA officials already under indictment to build a case against Blatter. Last week, U.S. authorities said nine soccer officials and five sports media and promotion executives faced charges involving more than $150 million of alleged bribes.
Blatter earlier Tuesday said he would leave his post and call a congress to elect a new president as soccer's governing body starts a "profound overhaul." Last week, Blatter—who has led the organization since 1998—won re-election amid ongoing investigations of corruption within FIFA. He said he will continue serving until FIFA holds its next election. (Tweet this)
"For years, we have worked hard to put in place administrative reforms, but it is plain to me that while these must continue, they are not enough," Blatter said at a press conference, which was called quickly on Tuesday afternoon.
The actions alleged by U.S. authorities extend to major international tournaments including the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said last week. Lynch stressed the investigation was ongoing.
"They were expected to uphold the rules that keep soccer honest and to protect the integrity of the game, instead they corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and to enrich themselves," Lynch said of the officials.
Blatter did not specify when a new president will be selected, but said it would need to happen "as rapidly as possible." An extraordinary congress can only be held within three months of when it is requested, according to FIFA bylaws.
Domenico Scala, chairman of FIFA's audit and compliance committee, will oversee the special election.
"This is the most responsible way to ensure an orderly transition," Scala said in a statement after Blatter spoke Tuesday.
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Blatter ran for re-election last week because he felt it "was the best thing for the organization." However, he believed his mandate to hold the position did not extend beyond FIFA members.
"While I have a mandate from the membership of FIFA, I do not feel that I have a mandate from the entire world of football—the fans, the players, the clubs," Blatter said Tuesday.
Blatter originally joined FIFA in 1975.
After the announcement, some FIFA sponsors said Blatter's decision to step down marked a positive start to a potential reform process. Adidas, Coca-Cola and McDonald's called the move a step in FIFA repairing its reputation.
"Our expectation remains that FIFA will continue to act with urgency to take concrete actions to fully address all of the issues that have been raised and win back the trust of all who love the sport of football," Coca-Cola said in a statement.
— CNBC's Everett Rosenfeld, Karissa Giuliano and Reuters contributed to this report.