Blatter urges critics to stand against him

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has challenged critics to 'take a risk' by standing against him in the elections next year.

    Blatter (R) appeared to target Platini (L) in his latest statements [AFP]
    Blatter (R) appeared to target Platini (L) in his latest statements [AFP]

    FIFA President Sepp Blatter has challenged his critics to "take a risk'' and stand for election against him next year.

    Blatter did not identify potential rivals in the ballot scheduled for May but he appeared to target UEFA President Michel Platini who publicly withdrew his backing ahead of the World Cup in June.

    "Don't speak, go out and fight, then you will see,'' Blatter told reporters at his annual charity football tournament. "People, they say I should not be a candidate or I should not be elected. They can take the risk to be in the election.''

    Platini had said that "FIFA needs a breath of fresh air" as he, and some other European football leaders, urged Blatter to stand aside at a hostile UEFA meeting in Brazil. They reminded Blatter of a 2011 promise to leave FIFA in 2015.

    Blatter plans to confirm he is a candidate for a fifth term before the January deadline.

    "Now I say (to) other people, if they want to take the risk, then take the risk,'' Blatter said. "That is good. And I am happy to fight. But if you take the risk you also have the chance to lose.''

    If Platini opts not to run, UEFA could field another candidate such as Netherlands football federation president Michael van Praag, who spoke against Blatter in Sao Paulo.

    SOURCE: AP


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