president Sepp Blatter after his election as
President at the Hallenstadion in Zurich,
Switzerland, Friday, May 29, 2015. Blatter has been
re-elected as FIFA president for a fifth term,
chosen to lead world soccer despite separate U.S.
and Swiss criminal investigations into corruption.
The 209 FIFA member federations gave the 79-year-old
Blatter another four-year term on Friday after
Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan conceded defeat
after losing 133-73 in the first round.
— In the end, nothing could stop Sepp Blatter.
far-reaching corruption scandal. Not a tarnished
international image. Not a young prince who gave him a
the biggest crisis in FIFA's 111-year history, Blatter
emerged victorious once again Friday, winning re-election
as president of world soccer's governing body for a fifth
term and proving he is the sport's ultimate survivor.
am now the president of everybody," the 79-year-old
Blatter crowed after defeating Prince Ali bin al-Hussein
of Jordan to secure another four years in office as one of
the most powerful men in sports.
was declared the victor after Prince Ali withdrew
following the first round of secret balloting among FIFA's
209 member federations. Blatter won the first ballot
133-73, seven votes short of the two-thirds majority
required for victory.
the start of the second round, where a simple majority
would be enough for victory, the 39-year-old prince
conceded defeat. By preventing Blatter from securing an
outright first-round triumph, Prince Ali gave Blatter a
symbolic bloody nose and showed that his previous iron
grip on the organization has weakened.
want to thank all of you who were brave enough to support
me," Prince Ali told the delegates.
in turmoil amid a pair of U.S. and Swiss corruption
investigations, Blatter had remained defiant and refused
to step down — as demanded by European soccer's
governing body, UEFA.
result of the one-vote-per-country election proved that
Blatter retains the loyalty of the many smaller countries
in Africa and Asia, a bloc that is enough to counter his
critics in Europe and elsewhere.
like you. I like my job," Blatter said to the
assembly after receiving a mix of cheers and jeers as he
stepped to the stage for his victory speech. "I am
not perfect, nobody is perfect, but we will do a good job
together I am sure."
exhorted the delegates: "Together we go! Let's go
FIFA! Let's go FIFA!"
election took place two days after seven soccer officials
were arrested in dawn raids at a luxury Zurich hotel. The
U.S. Justice Department indicted 14 people on charges of
bribery, racketeering, money-laundering and other charges.
In a separate investigation, Swiss authorities are looking
into FIFA's awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and
the 2022 tournament to Qatar. And Britain's Serious Fraud
Office said Friday it is assessing "material in its
possession" relating to allegations of FIFA
himself was not implicated in the U.S. indictments, but
prosecutors have said the investigations are far from
big-money sponsors have also called for change within FIFA.
Visa warned it could pull out of its contract, which is
worth at least $25 million a year through 2022.
who has been in office for 17 years, portrayed himself as
the man who can guide FIFA through the tumult and restore
trust in an organization that has been left battered and
reeling from years of corruption accusations.
have been made responsible for this storm," he said
in his final speech to the voters before the election.
"That's fine, that's fine. I take that
responsibility. I take it. I take it upon myself and I
also want to accept this responsibility, get back on the
path, to fix FIFA, together with you."
election went ahead after U.S. and Swiss federal
investigations struck at the heart of Blatter's circle.
Two FIFA vice presidents and a recently elected executive
committee member were still in custody Friday as the votes
thank you that you accepted me for the next four
years," Blatter told the assembly. "I will be in
command of this boat called FIFA and we will bring it back
off shore and bring it back to the beach."
God and Allah in his speech, saying they would help guide
FIFA out of its crisis.
promise you, in the end of my term I will give this FIFA
to my successor in a very, very strong position, a robust
FIFA and a good FIFA," he said.
won despite direct calls for his resignation from UEFA
president Michel Platini, who sat still during the
congress and did not clap during the victory remarks.
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,"
scheduled to hold meetings next week in Berlin ahead of
the Champions League final. Platini said before the vote
that UEFA could pull out of FIFA and withdraw from the
World Cup if Blatter was re-elected.
appeared to be a warning to UEFA, Blatter pledged Friday
to change the representation of his influential executive
committee, where Europe currently has eight of 25 voting
members. Blatter also said he would retain a 32-team World
Cup and resist expanding what is FIFA's cash cow.
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke, who voted for
Prince Ali, said Europe's opposition to Blatter would not
isn't over by any means," he said. "The events
of this week are so traumatic for FIFA that I cannot see
FIFA reforming itself under Blatter — he's had (17)
years to reform it and he hasn't done it."
Gulati, president of the U.S. soccer federation and a
member of FIFA's executive committee, also voted against
we are disappointed in the result of the election, we will
continue to push for meaningful change within FIFA,"
he said. "Our goal is for governance of FIFA that is
responsible, accountable, transparent and focused solely
on the best interests of the game."
did have one big ally in Europe — Russia, the site of
the next World Cup.
staunchly supported Blatter," Sports Minister Vitaly
Mutko told The Associated Press, "so we are very
satisfied with a result like this."