Sepp Blatter has said he will step down as FIFA president.
The 79-year-old Swiss has called an extraordinary congress “as soon as possible”, saying “a new president will be elected to follow me”.
Blatter has held the role for 17 years but has come under increasing pressure following recent revelations.
Blatter told the news conference: “I will organise an extraordinary congress for a replacement for me as president.
“I will not stand. I am now free from the constraints of an election. I will be in a position to focus on profound reforms. For many years we have called for reforms. But these are not sufficient.
“I have thoroughly considered and thought about my presidency and the last 40 years in my life.
“These years were closely related to FIFA and the wonderful sport of football. I appreciate and love FIFA more than anything else.
“I only want to do the best for FIFA and my institution. I decided to stand again as the best option for football. The elections are closed but the challenges we face haven’t come to an end.”
Blatter’s announcement comes after FIFA has admitted it paid 10million US dollars destined for the South Africa World Cup to an account controlled by the disgraced former vice-president Jack Warner.
The payment followed a letter from the South African FA to FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke.
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke said Blatter’s decision to stand down is “brilliant for world football”.
Dyke said: “It is a good afternoon! I think it’s brilliant for world football. This is the start of something new.”
And UEFA president Michel Platini, now one of the possible contenders, welcomed the announcement.
Platini said: “It was a difficult decision, a brave decision, and the right decision.”