Sepp Blatter, FIFA President, Says 'I Did Not Resign'

06/26/2015 11:03 am ET | Updated Jun 26, 2015

Despite announcing earlier this month that he would step down as FIFA president, Sepp Blatter felt the need to clarify Thursday that he has not resigned from office and has no intention of showing himself the door.

At a party for the launch of the new $200 million FIFA museum on Thursday in Zurich, Switzerland, Blatter told guests, "I did not resign. I put myself and my office in the hands of the FIFA congress," according to Blick.

To an assembled chorus of cheers and clapping, the 79-year-old continued his defiant speech.

“Only those who know the past can understand the present and shape the future," he said. "Or in other words: the ball is round -- but only those who come from outer space know the actual dimensions of our sport ... For me personally, the museum is a labor of love. But do not get me wrong: I’m not ready for the museum nor for a waxwork yet.”

FIFA has tried to backtrack Blatter's own words for him, telling The Guardian that Blatter would not run again for the presidency and will "lay down his mandate."

On June 2, four days after being re-elected to a record fifth term as FIFA president, Blatter was thought to have conceded his office under immense pressure from the international community following arrests and corruption charges for 14 top FIFA officials. (Blatter is also reported to be under investigation from U.S. authorities in the wake of the May 27 arrests.)

"I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective congress," Blatter said at the time. "I will continue to exercise my functions as FIFA president until that election."

He also added "I shall not be a candidate," in his speech. But nowhere in his speech did Blatter use the word "resign" or "resignation," and just 12 days later BBC reported that "everything is open" in regards to Blatter potentially running in an expected mid-December "extraordinary elective congress" for FIFA president. Blatter even scheduled meetings with other top officials in mid-June to determine if he could win a sixth term, according to BBC.

Blatter's Thursday comments have fueled speculation that he's intending on running again. Former Blatter adviser Klaus Stöhlker told The Guardian that this was a distinct possibility if "there was no other viable candidate."

If history is any indication, the "will he or won't he?" game between Blatter and his office will only continue. In 2011, he promised that he'd step down in 2015 after his fourth term -- which, of course, turned out to be untrue.

Another rope-a-dope move from Blatter could be in play here, but considering recent exposure of all the terrible things FIFA has allegedly done during his 17-year reign at the top of world soccer, reneging on his word again could finally be too problematic, even for Blatter.

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  • And Other Pleasant Fellows
    In 2009, Blatter handed a FIFA medal to Moldovan president Vladimir Voronin, just as the politician had been suspected of torture and voting fraud.
  • Some Officials Make Racist Statements
    "I do not believe a Jew can ever be a referee at this level. It's hard work and, you know, Jews don't like hard work." - FIFA senior vice-president Julio Grondona, on refereeing standards in Argentina, in 2003.
  • And Others Have Tricky Fingers
    Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) vice-president José Maria Marin was caught pocketing a winner's medal meant for a player at the Sao Paulo Juniors Cup in 2012. He has since been named CBF president.
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    FIFA threatened to ban reporters from the 2010 World Cup if they wrote stories that brought the organization into "disrepute."
  • It Banned A Soccer Legend When He Alleged Corruption
    Pelé once accused the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) of corruption after its chief, Ricardo Teixeira, allegedly asked for a $1 million bribe as the soccer legend sought broadcast rights to the 1994 World Cup. Then-FIFA president João Havelange subsequently struck Pelé’s name from a guest list for the World Cup draw in 1993.
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    Former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner (pictured) asked for a reported £2.5 million payment as countries looked to snag the 2018 World Cup, former English bid chairman Lord Triesman told a select committee in 2011. He also alleged that Nicolás Leoz, a FIFA member from Paraguay, asked for a knighthood.
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    Sepp Blatter called criticism of Qatar's successful World Cup bid "racist." He also said that people were "plotting to destroy" FIFA, though he never specified who he was talking about.
  • Its People Dodge Taxes
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    FIFA executive Ricardo Teixeira was convicted in 2009 of smuggling goods through customs as he and Brazil's national team returned from their World Cup victory in 1994. Teixeira threatened to cancel the victory parade if their baggage didn't go through unchecked.
  • And Set Up Havens In Host Countries
    FIFA demands tax exemptions from countries bidding on the World Cup. This includes its "revenues, profits, income, expenses, costs, investments and any and all kinds of payments," according to a Dutch government memo.
  • It Doesn't Take Racism Very Seriously
    Chelsea FC captain John Terry (right) was alleged to have racially abused Queens Park Rangers player Anton Ferdinand (left) during a game in 2011. How did Sepp Blatter respond? He downplayed the issue of racism, saying players should just settle it with a handshake. He later apologized.
  • And Its President Disrespected Nelson Mandela
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  • But This Is Still A Beautiful Game
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