Thousands sign up for 'leaving party' for FIFA's Blatter

Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:13am EDT
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ZURICH (Reuters) - A celebration of Sepp Blatter's departure as the head of world soccer's governing body has attracted more than 21,000 would-be guests via Facebook.

With FIFA mired in a corruption scandal, Blatter, 79, delighted critics this month by announcing he would stand down as president of the governing body and call a leadership election, due between December and February.

"We've been waiting for this moment for years! You're all invited to the headquarters of FIFA in Zurich! Give the man a good send–off!" wrote Dutch soccer fan Rodney Bouwhuizen, who has created the Dec. 1 event with the Facebook page "Leaving Party for Sepp Blatter".

So far, just over 21,000 people are down on the social networking site as "going", although there is no guarantee that many will attend, or that the event will even take place.

FIFA, which Blatter has led since 1998, said it had no comment. Blatter has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

A spokesman for Zurich police said they were aware of the planned party.

"First of all we will try to get in touch with the organizer," the spokesman said. "Often people aren't aware what they bring about with an event like this and then also withdraw the invitation."

(Reporting by Joshua Franklin Additional reporting by Thomas Escritt in Amsterdam; Editing by Alison Williams)

FIFA President Sepp Blatter pauses during a news conference at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, June 2, 2015.   REUTERS/Ruben Sprich