What crisis? In a tense news conference Blatter said the recent claims of Lord Triesman and a British Sunday newspaper did not require any further proceedings [AFP] 

FIFA boss Sepp Blatter has insisted world football's governing body is not in crisis, despite the 'great damage' affecting the image of the organisation caused by long-running corruption allegations.

In a press conference held on Monday at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich, Blatter was defiant in his defence of FIFA.

"Crisis, what is a crisis?" a clearly irritated Blatter said.

"We are not in a crisis. We are only in some difficulties and these will be solved."

Blatter is due to stand unopposed for a new term as president on Wednesday, after the withdrawal of Qatari election rival Mohamed bin Hammam on Sunday.

Allegations

FIFA has constantly been in the headlines after days of widespread corruption allegations that resulted in two top officials suspended pending a bribery investigation.

Mohamed bin Hammam and FIFA vice-president Jack Warner were suspended on Sunday by a FIFA ethics committee pending a full inquiry into allegations Caribbean football leaders were paid $40,000 each to back the Qatari's now-abandoned presidential bid.

Bin Hammam vowed to appeal his suspension earlier on Monday.

Blatter himself was investigated - and cleared - by a FIFA ethics committee on Sunday.

At the frequently tense and acrimonious press conference, Blatter also rejected suggestions that the vote for the 2022 World Cup - controversially awarded to the oil-rich Gulf state of Qatar - should be held again amid mounting allegations of bribery involving the bid.

"There is no issue for the World Cup in 2022," the 75-year-old Swiss said.

"I believe that the decision taken for the World Cup in 2022 was done exactly in the same pattern and in the same way as the 2018 tournament."

Blatter also said there was no case to answer against four FIFA executive committee members accused of corruption during a British parliamentary hearing this month.

FIFA received a report from the English Football Association concerning the allegations against Ricardo Teixeira, Nicolas Leoz, Jack Warner and Worawi Makudi.

"We can confirm there are no elements in this report which would even report any proceedings but for the sake of transparency we will agree a comprehensive summary of this report," Blatter said.

No contest

Asian Football Confederation boss and presidential candidate Bin Hammam pulled out of the election race just hours before FIFA's ethics committee suspended him and Jack Warner, the influential head of the Caribbean, North and Central American federation (CONCACAF).

Blatter said the absence of bin Hammam from the election was no reason to postpone Wednesday's presidential election, where he will be seeking a final and fourth term following 13 years in power.

"If somebody wants to change something in the election on Wednesday, this is for the members of FIFA. It cannot be done by anybody else," he said. 

Source: Agencies