Havana: Brazilian football legend Pele called for “honest people” to clean up world football here after the shock resignation of FIFA supremo Sepp Blatter.
Speaking to the BBC on the sidelines of the New York Cosmos friendly match with Cuba in Havana, the 74-year-old three-time World Cup winner said FIFA must change after the corruption scandal that has rocked football’s governing body.
Pele, who had previously voiced support for Blatter following his re-election, described the football chief’s stunning fall from power as “unfortunate.”
“Everybody asks about Sepp Blatter,” Pele told the BBC. “Of course, everybody was very surprised, not with Sepp Blatter but with FIFA.
“I mentioned before he was the president for 20 years, unfortunately what happened, happened with everyone.
“My position is like a player I want to see football put people together and stop wars. That’s my position. What happened with the corruption, this is not my problem.”
FIFA now faced a critical period as it seeks to clean up its image, Pele said.
“It’s an important time for FIFA. FIFA must change now as it moves forward,” Pele said.
“I think everything in life changes. Football changes, life changes. It’s important to have honest people.
“To organize anything you have to have good people.”
Pele was in Cuba to attend his former club’s landmark game with Cuba, the first visit to the Communist-ruled island by a professional American sports team for 16 years. The Cosmos ran out 4-1 winners.