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By Nico Hines for the Daily Beast:
LONDON — Soccer’s World Cup plans were cast into chaos Tuesday as Sepp Blatter announced that he would stand down as president of FIFA. At a shock press conference just four days after he was re-elected as the most powerful man in world sports, Blatter asked the organization to select a new leader.
Blatter’s stunning departure from soccer will reopen the battle to host the next two World Cups after the selection process was mired by allegations of bribery. The United States finished second in the voting for the 2022 tournament that went to Qatar, but widespread reports of illegal payments have raised questions over the legitimacy of the Gulf emirate’s hosting—to say nothing of its use of what’s been called slave labor.
Vladimir Putin, who took a close personal interest in Russia’s successful 2018 bid, will also be nervous Tuesday night as his friend Blatter announced that he will stand down from FIFA as soon as a successor is elected. The process is expected to be complete by March 2016.
The new president will be forced to hold a thorough internal investigation into the organization and, if FBI claims are to be believed, it seems likely that the World Cup bidding process for 2018 and 2022 would be heavily criticized. That would make it extremely difficult not to re-evaluate who should host the tournaments...............
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