Under-fire Sepp Blatter re-elected as FIFA president for a fifth term after Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein withdraws before the second round of voting
Zurich: Sepp Blatter has been re-elected for a fifth term as FIFA president despite the crisis that has struck the world governing body this week.
Blatter saw off the challenge from Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan after a week which saw seven FIFA officials arrested and 18 people connected to football indicted on corruption charges by the US justice department.
Blatter won the first round by 133 votes to 73 and, after Prince Ali decided to withdraw ahead of the second round, the 79-year-old was installed as FIFA president for another four years. The outcome of the first-round vote meant Prince Ali succeeded in preventing Blatter from winning two-thirds majority, but the 39-year-old pulled out of the contest rather than force a second round of voting.
Bloody nose for Sepp
His supporters had been keen to get past the 70-vote mark as that would be seen to have delivered a bloody nose to Blatter.
The victory is also set to see further protests from UEFA — the first action has come from David Gill, the Football Association vice-chairman who will reject the post of British vice-president as he does not want to serve under Blatter.
Gill will not attend the post-Congress executive committee meeting on Saturday where a decision is set to be taken on the allocation of World Cup places to each confederation.
Blatter had told the 209 associations who gathered for the FIFA Congress in Zurich that the crisis would not have happened if countries other than Russia and Qatar had won the vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
In what appeared a reference to the United States and England losing out, Blatter called for unity from FIFA’s 209 associations ahead of the presidential election.
Most of the media investigations into FIFA have come from Britain, while it is the US justice authorities that sparked the current crisis with the seven arrests this week and indictments of 18 people, 13 of them football officials.
Blatter admitted the events of this week “unleashed a storm” ahead of the election but appealed to delegates for unity, and said: “I am being held accountable for the current storm, okay so be it — I will shoulder that responsibility. I want to fix FIFA together with you — tomorrow, day after and in the weeks to come.”