Blatter ready to run again despite opposition
FIFA President Blatter didn’t announce his re-election plans but expressed his ‘readiness’ to accompany the organization in the future
It is still uncertain whether FIFA President Sepp Blatter will run for re-election, after news that European football chiefs no longer want him in the role, the Associated Press reported Thursday.
Blatter passed up the chance to formally announce his re-election plans for a fifth term bid in 2015 when he addressed FIFA's 209 member nations at their annual congress ahead of the World Cup.
However, during the annual Congress, Blatter - who has led FIFA for 16 years -pressed his case to extend his tenure.
“My mission is not finished,” he told officials from FIFA’s 209 member associations at the close of Congress, held in Sao Paulo on the eve of the opening game of Brazil’s 2014 World Cup.
“Congress, you will decide who will take this great institution forward, but I can tell you I am ready to accompany you in the future,” he added.
On Tuesday, European football leaders urged Blatter not to stand for re-election next year after the damage he caused to reputation of the organization during his presidency, especially over the corruption allegations about the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“Personally yes [I think he should step down], I think we need to move on. I think we need a full, frank and open debate about what FIFA needs going forward,” David Gill, England’s UEFA vice president said during an address to Europe’s top football officials on Tuesday, British newspaper The Guardian reported on Wednesday.
Blatter and FIFA have come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks following a report that alleged corruption was at the heart of Qatar’s successful 2022 World Cup bid.
Meanwhile, Micharl Van Praag, a UEFA executive committee member also told Blatter he should stand down as promised at the end of his current four-year term.
“I took what Sepp Blatter said to us as an official statement that he would be running for re-election so I took the floor,” he said.
“I told him it was not a personal attack, because I respect him and know him and like him as a person, but FIFA has an executive president and that means he has the final responsibility for what is happening in FIFA,” Praag said.
“If you look at the way people think about them at the moment, they have a very ugly reputation. He bears the final responsibility for that,” he added.
However, despite the critics from European football leaders, Blatter has the support of the African and Asian federations.
African officials were among those alleged to have taken payments from Qatar’s former FIFA member Mohammad Bin Hammam, according to The Sunday Times.
The 2014 World Cup kicks off on Thursday when hosts Brazil play Croatia at the Arena de Sao Paulo.
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