Sepp Blatter will not stand again for the FIFA presidency, he told a Swiss newspaper, but insisted he remained in charge of world football’s governing body.
In an interview with Waliser Bote, Blatter said: “I am not a candidate, but the elected president.”
Asked what he intended to do when he stands down as president, Blatter replied: “I haven’t thought much about it for the time being.”
He added: “My decision to leave was really a liberation, both for FIFA and for myself.”
The comments come a day after another Swiss newspaper, Blick, published an interview with Blatter in which he insisted he “did not resign” as FIFA president.
“I did not resign. I put myself and my office in the hands of the FIFA congress,” Blick reported Blatter as saying.
The 79-year-old Blatter announced on June 2 that he would step down from the FIFA presidency at an extraordinary congress to be held between December this year and March 2016.
That decision followed the crisis that engulfed FIFA with 18 people indicted in the United States on football-related corruption charges.
Since then, sources close to Blatter have been reported as saying he was not ruling out the prospect of going back on his decision to resign after receiving messages of support from Asian and African federations.
Blatter’s announcement on June 2 came just days after he had been re-elected as president. At the time, he said: “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.
“Therefore, I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective congress. I will continue to exercise my functions as FIFA president until that election.”
An extraordinary meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee will take place in Zurich on July 20, when a date will be fixed for the congress at which Blatter’s successor will be elected.