Sepp Blatter re-elected as FIFA president

Sepp Blatter wins FIFA presidential election as Prince Ali withdraws after first round of votes 133-73 in favour of Blatter

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Sepp Blatter is re-elected as the president of FIFA for the fifth time in an election that was overshadowed by corruption allegations and arrest of high-ranking FIFA officials.

Blatter’s victory came as his only rival Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan withdraw from the election after the first round which ended with a voting tally of 133-73 in favour of Blatter, forcing a second round as no candidate could get two-thirds of the 209 votes.

"I like you, I like my job," Blatter said to in his victory speech and added: "I am not perfect, nobody is perfect, but we will do a good job together I am sure."

“I want to thank all of you who were brave enough to support me," the prince said as he withdrew after the first round.

"It's been a wonderful journey in terms of knowing you, working with you."

The election was overshadowed by the twin corruption cases by the US and Swiss authorities and arrest of high-ranking FIFA officials including current and former vice presidents.

European football’s governing body UEFA called Blatter to step down and withdraw from the election and pledged to support Prince Ali.

Blatter, however, managed to win the majority of the votes in the election with strong support from African, Asian, and Caribbean confederations, leading to withdrawal of Prince Ali before even going into second round.

Following the election, UEFA President Michel Platini issued a statement congratulating Prince Ali for his campaign effort and reiterated Europe’s demand for change at FIFA.

"I am proud that UEFA has defended and supported a movement for change at FIFA. Change which in my opinion is crucial if this organization is to regain its credibility," Platini said.

Twin corruption probes

Just two days ahead of the election, the US and Swiss authorities unveiled two separate corruption investigations into FIFA.

The US Department of Justice indicted nine FIFA officials and five sports marketing executives on charges of including racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering

The Swiss officials raided FIFA offices in Zurich and announced that they have started a probe into the award process of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, set to be played in Russia and Qatar respectively.

Other countries followed the lead as Brazil, Argentina and Britain started their own corruption investigation.

Name of Sepp Blatter is not on the list of indicted but many believe he is involved too as most of his vice presidents and executive committee members were arrested in the probe and face charges which can put them behind bars for decades.

Russia denied any wrongdoing in the bidding process of 2018 World Cup as President Vladimir Putin defined investigation as an illegal overreach of the US and an attempt to pressure Blatter because he helped Russia get the 2018 World Cup.

Qatar also rejected the allegations and issued a statement on Friday saying they will continue with their plans to host the 2022 World Cup.

However, the fate of the upcoming two World Cups and future of world football are still in question as the corruption probes continue and European officials demand change.

English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke said England can support boycott  2018 World Cup if Blatter to be re-elected.

Platini suggested UEFA could withdraw from FIFA if huge changes are not brought in to world football's embattled governing body.

In his victory speech Blatter was promising to carry FIFA forward saying "I take the responsibility to bring back FIFA where it should be," and hinted this might be his final term at the helm of world football promising. "At the end of my term I will give up FIFA in a strong position."

TRTWorld and agencies