Time for Blatter to step down as Fifa president - Van Praag

The 78-year-old has indicated he will stand for a fifth term at the head of the organisation in 2015 but the Netherlands supremo believes a new leader is needed
By Liam Twomey in Rio de Janeiro

Netherlands Football Association chief Michael van Praag has revealed he believes it is time for Sepp Blatter to stand down as Fifa president.

Blatter has been at the top of world football's governing body since succeeding Joao Havelange in June 1998, and recently indicated he will stand for a fifth term as president in 2015.

The 78-year-old has been a controversial figure for much of his tenure and has attracted criticism in recent days for his response to allegations published by the Sunday Times of bribery in the bidding process which saw Qatar awarded the 2022 World Cup.

Van Praag insists Fifa's image has deteriorated under Blatter's rule and claims a new president is needed to turn things around.

"If you're somewhere 16 years, you have to ask yourself if you are adding something," the KNVB chief told Dutch newspaper Volkskrant on Tuesday.

"The image of Fifa has deteriorated after everything that has happened in recent years. Few take it seriously. No matter how you look at it, Blatter is ultimately responsible.

"I like him personally, but it's part of the job that you're being criticised as Fifa president. If that's the case, you should take your responsibility.

"I expect that Uefa will make a statement today about his bid for another term. Maybe we won't even talk about it at the Uefa congress, because the elections are next year. But as European FA we have to be prepared."