News24

Sepp Blatter re-elected

2011-06-01 18:25

Zurich - Sepp Blatter was re-elected unopposed as FIFA president on Wednesday, promising to use his final term to radically reform soccer's ailing world governing body.

Blatter won the backing of 186 of the 203 voting delegates after brushing aside a late challenge when federations agreed to let the election go ahead despite the lack of a rival and a series of scandals that have damaged the organisation's credibility.

Even as he returned to the hall to receive flowers and the applause of the majority of voters, Blatter was facing fresh problems after Germany's influential Football Association called for an investigation into the process that saw Qatar awarded the 2022 World Cup.

Blatter, the 75-year-old Swiss who has run FIFA since 1998, did not address that issue directly but said he was determined to clean up FIFA from within.

"We will put the ship back on course in clear transparent waters," a triumphant Blatter told delegates.

In reference to the ongoing accusations of corruption, Blatter had earlier said: "We have been hit and I personally have been slapped."

With Qatari Mohamed bin Hammam having dropped out of the race - he was subsequently suspended pending an inquiry into bribery claims - Blatter effectively sealed victory when England's motion for a postponement was defeated by 172 votes to 17.

The actual election was a formality.

Blatter, who has repeatedly said this will be his final term, traced FIFA's problems back to last year's vote, when the inner circle of executive committee members chose Russia to host the World Cup in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.

He promised on Wednesday to shift power to award future World Cup hosting rights to FIFA's full 208-member congress, though the 2026 World Cup will not be up for grabs for another six or seven years.

He also promised a tougher "zero tolerance" policy from the ethics committee, which he said would be "reinforced and professionalised", and said he wanted a special one-day congress to examine current accusations against FIFA.

"Where does all this evil come from which is now in FIFA," he asked before answering his own question.

"It has to do with the popularity of our competition, the flagship competition, the World Cup. The attribution of the World Cup... kicked off a wave of accusations, proposals, allegations, criticism and they are still coming."

One of them is that Qatar may have "bought" the World Cup, an accusation the Qatar bid has denied.

German Football Association chief Theo Zwanziger said FIFA could not afford to ignore the suspicions, which have been denied by Qatar's bid team.

"There is a considerable degree of suspicion that one cannot simply sweep aside," Zwanziger told German television.

FIFA are facing what general secretary Jerome Valcke agreed was a "watershed moment", with the crisis being compared to the Salt Lake City corruption case the International Olympic Committee had to deal with in 1998.

Since then the IOC has strictly controlled the bidding process, banning all members from travelling to candidate cities unless they are part of the official evaluation commission.

Blatter will need to provide more detail if he is to satisfy critics he is equally serious about reform.

Blatter has led FIFA through a period of unprecedented prosperity on the sale of TV rights and sponsorship.

The financial report submitted to delegates on Wednesday showed reserves of $1.3 billion, with TV rights for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa having brought in $4.2 billion between 2007-10.

Behind the money and the glitz, however, the game's reputation has been put under the microscope after a spate of corruption allegations and the suspension of Bin Hammam and fellow executive committee member Jack Warner.

The two men, who are facing an investigation into bribery claims in the election, have denied any wrongdoing.

In another twist, Chuck Blazer - an American whose whistle-blowing led to the suspension of Bin Hammam and Warner - was sacked on Tuesday from his position on CONCACAF.

An hour later, that organisation, which runs soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean, declared the dismissal invalid but the split deepened on Wednesday as acting president Lisle Austin insisted Blazer had indeed been lawfully dismissed.

The internal chaos magnified the drama surrounding the FIFA Congress in Zurich.

Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey called for swift FIFA reform, telling delegates FIFA needed to "take seriously" the criticisms voiced about corruption.

"What is important is to restore full confidence in the organisation; let not money spoil your ideals," she said.

FIFA has also faced criticism from four of their six top-tier sponsors concerned about possible damage by association.

Reuters

Comments
  • Grayman - 2011-06-01 18:32

    And FIFA bathes itself in glory again ... NOT

      Pencilgraffiti - 2011-06-01 20:05

      He's gonna clean up the mess he's responsible for...Please. All of the problems happened under his leadership and therefore he should have stepped down himself or have been voted down.This just shows you that FIFA thinks only about financials. That footy game we all talk about, what's that?

  • Howzitekse - 2011-06-01 18:33

    Done and dusted.

  • Leviathan - 2011-06-01 18:35

    looks like things r back 2 normal. Now mr blatter and his buddies can continue their corrupt ways. Who else wants 2 host a WC iraq, iceland, luxemburg? if the price is right its urs. But lets b honest we could see that things would stay the same, doesnt really surprise me

      Mswati - 2011-06-01 19:15

      Why don't you join them, maybe your writing can improve?

      Leviathan - 2011-06-01 19:34

      ha ha ha Mswati! I totally forgot ur the new spell check on sports 24. If i was really that corrupt why would a join them? I would rather then join the ANC its much closer to home.

      Mswati - 2011-06-01 19:40

      Actually it should read; "If I were..........."

      Camiel Phillips - 2011-06-02 09:18

      Don't worry about Mswati,he is just mean.As long as you get your message across.They should investigate Sepp's finances.

  • Nesomaniac - 2011-06-01 18:35

    Surprise, surprise! Really, did we think it would be any different? With this crook's past record it was only to be expected that he would be voted(sic!) in again!

  • supafly - 2011-06-01 18:36

    Done! Now, maybe they have Iran & Venezuala co-hosting the event come 2026, with a Zimbabwean referee scheduled for the final. Okay, that won't be funny at all, sorry! Two R things for sure, though. One, non of the FIFA members wud B invited for tea with his/her majesty @ Buckingham Palace anytime soon & two, neither will the Brits be hosting the beautiful anytime soon. It's a bit of shame though! They would hav made such gr8 hosts! No pun intended!

      Leviathan - 2011-06-01 19:39

      Mswati u seem 2 b the 1st pro Blatter. If u want 2 correct peoples english, then rather b a language teacher. plus correcting everyone elses english and yours isnt better

      Shaun - 2011-06-01 20:14

      What pun is that Supafly?

      supafly - 2011-06-01 21:44

      Hola Mswatis! Funny dude/chick! I'm sure you have a glowing career in garbage disposal, hey! Is that definative enough for you? No, but seriosly though, my syntax and spelling R not the best! I'll do beta nxt tym peease don feil me!

      Mike - 2011-06-02 11:19

      @supafly - you're the weakest link - goodbye!

  • thetruth - 2011-06-01 19:11

    steal baby steal...its a european thing ...stealing in a big way

      Mike - 2011-06-02 11:16

      Actually stealing is the African way - they the ones who have perfected it - look here at home - the Nats stole on a small scale and rather undetected - at least we had infrastructure that worked because there was enough left in the coffers - but these ANC guys, hey man - theyre pro's!!! And what hurts is that they assume it is their god-given right to do it and also do it blatantly! Geen skaam!

  • Dicey - 2011-06-01 19:30

    more corrupt than cycling & our government combined ...

  • Kyle - 2011-06-01 19:39

    What a cool pic. It looks like Blatter is savouring the moment. But seriously the English FA themselves were giving out gifts before the WC host voting. So they shouldn't come and say they are clean.

  • tommy 2 - 2011-06-01 20:14

    Re elected.... Obviously, he was the only one running.

      Mike - 2011-06-02 11:13

      Can't fathom why they needed an election if he was the only one running - rather weird!?

  • Enoch - 2011-06-01 20:39

    To be honest with you I, I think Blatter is selfish he does not trust anyone with that position,I mean the man is old. He should've allowed someone to take over and only help whenever he is needed...maybe he wants to die a president!

      Leviathan - 2011-06-01 22:16

      ya u right. the forever president thing sounds familiar. Maybe he has bin spending 2 much time in africa like zim, egypt, libya,

  • charmie26 - 2011-06-01 21:06

    bleh

  • Kyle - 2011-06-01 21:26

    This is Sepp's reaction after winning the election http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3ALwKeSEYs

  • Joe Soap - 2011-06-01 21:46

    Maybe he and Jacob Z are family?

      Mike - 2011-06-02 11:12

      Yeah - right! - they went to different schools together!

  • derkus - 2011-06-02 05:06

    looks like somebody is giving him a blowjob

      Mike - 2011-06-02 11:23

      On the city hall steps!

  • Roy - 2011-06-02 07:15

    and the europeans complain about corruption in africa

      Leviathan - 2011-06-02 10:05

      bcoz in africa its the norm

      Mike - 2011-06-02 11:11

      @Leviathan - touche - that will shut him up - well said!

  • Shhhh.... - 2011-06-02 13:04

    How short sighted Blatter was. He knew England was vying for the right to host. You either give it to England, or you will be investigated. What England wants, England gets. Sure you learned your lessons Mr. Blatter.

  • Khoisan X - 2011-06-06 13:48

    And England still wants to break away from FIFA?

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