|The leadership of Blatter, left, looks safe after bin Hammam, right, pulled out of the presidential race [GALLO/GETTY]|
The decision by Qatar’s Mohamed bin Hammam to withdraw from the FIFA president race clears the path for Sepp Blatter to continue in the job that he has held for 13 years.
Blatter first entered the world of football in 1974 when he became president of The Zurich Brown Shirts. In 1975 he joined FIFA, football’s governing body, first as technical director and then as general secretary in 1981.
In 1998, Blatter became FIFA president and was re-elected twice as head in 2002 and 2007.
Blatter is the only candidate left in next Wednesday’s presidential election in Zurich where FIFA’s Congress of the 208 member nations pick the man to hold the post for the next four years.
Many believe the current FIFA scandal should force Blatter to step down from his role even if he is re-elected.
However, FIFA’s ethics committee has cleared Blatter of turning a blind eye to the alleged bribing of football officials.
Blatter, whose tenure at the top of world football has been marked by recurrent scandal, became the 10th of its 24 executive committee members to face corruption allegations.
Retiring FIFA executive committee member Franz Beckenbauer insists Blatter is still a credible president despite the controversy that has marred the body over the last week.
“He (Blatter) did a wonderful job. It’s not easy. FIFA is like the United Nations – we have 208 members,” Beckenbauer told Radio Five Live.
“It’s not an easy to handle, but I think Blatter and his staff are doing a wonderful job.”
However, Beckenbauer admitted the allegations were very damaging for the game.
“It’s a disaster for football and I hope when June 1 comes and the election will be over, then all the discussion about corruption is finished and FIFA can go back to normal,” he said.
“I don’t know what’s going on in the next days, but in general it’s my opinion it’s very, very bad.”