Europe

Jubilation and suspicion after Blatter decides to go

Combo picture of front pages on Blatter

There is hope in the media worldwide that Sepp Blatter's departure from Fifa will help cleanse football's governing body of corruption. But in Moscow there are suspicions that this is a disguised attack against Russia.

'No need to worry

For many Russians, the main question is whether their country will be stripped of the right to host the World Cup in 2018. "Russia need not worry," NTV television reassured its viewers. "What would be the point of taking the World Cup championships away from a country with just three years to go?" an expert told NTV.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Both Mr Blatter and Russia's President Putin are mocked in this tweet (photo: Getty Images)
Image copyright Twitter
Image caption "Blatter resigns" says this Russian tweet, accompanied by the 2018 World Cup logo

True to form, state-run Rossiya 1 TV took a more conspiratorial tone. It described Mr Blatter as a "real friend of Russia" and suggested that this may be the real reason why he came under pressure. "Would European and North American football functionaries be thinking of moving the 2018 World Cup if it was not hosted by Russia?" the TV's reported asked.

'Other focus'

Unlike Russia, the media in Qatar are not speculating about whether they will still be allowed to host the World Cup in 2022. Two dailies - Al-Watan and Al-Rayah - carry only the local football federation chief's response to the call by the English Football Association's Greg Dyke for a probe.

"Greg Dyke should focus on making sure his country's team qualifies for the 2022 finals, rather than being concerned about Qatar's hosting of the tournament," Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifah Bin Ahmad is quoted as saying.

Qatar's Al-Jazeera satellite TV ignored the story completely in its main Wednesday morning bulletin, even though the story received ample airtime on the channel's English-language service.

'Congratulations!'

Mr Blatter's resignation is news throughout the Middle East.

In Jordan, Al-Ra'y newspaper naturally backs Jordanian Prince Ali's bid for the Fifa presidency. "He is the most eligible candidate for taking the lead on the path to reform," the paper says.

Saudi Al-Riyadh is typical in running the front page headline: "Corruption storm uproots Blatter".

Egypt's Al-Goumhouriya tells its readers simply: "Congratulations", but the Cairo daily Al-Akhbar argues that Mr Blatter's departure is "not enough unless corruption in the international organization is uprooted".

'The great survivor'

In Mr Blatter's native Switzerland, Neue Zuercher Zeitung is glad that the "great survivor" is leaving: "The time for him to resign had already come at the end of his last term as president. But he clung to office."

Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wonders whether world football can avoid "falling into the hands of the next greedy autocrat". "The better future is still far from won, despite Blatter's resignation," it concludes.

'Good afternoon for football'

Italian newspapers have few kind words for the Fifa president. "Yesterday the US president went down in history as the head of government who changed the fate of world football by blowing up the fortress in which Sepp Blatter had imprisoned the most beautiful game in the world," says Corriere della Sera.

In France, L'Express is also happy to see the back of Mr Blatter. "Sepp Blatter's resignation: 'A good afternoon for football'," says its headline.

'Other billy-goats'

Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo argues that Mr Blatter's departure will not be enough to cleanse Fifa of corruption completely: "It has removed the billy-goat from the room, but the institution that controls football still stinks, being full of other billy-goats just waiting for their misdeeds to be exposed," the paper says.

Colombia's El Tiempo also calls for more action. It urges a maximum term for Fifa presidents "to avoid such long administrations (nearly life-terms) as those of Joao Havelange and Blatter himself".

'Return the money'

Uganda's Daily Monitor has some suggestions on how Fifa can "dig its name out of the hole" - "Get to the bottom of this matter. Once proven true, force culprits to return the money thereafter, relieve them of their jobs. Slap a lengthy ban on each giver of the money. Ask them to pay an equivalent amount as a fine. Only after this will the sports fraternity take Fifa seriously."

Image copyright Eyewitness News
Image caption South Africa's Eyewitness News website ran this cartoon

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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