‘Captain’ Blatter to stand unopposed

English FA provide lone voice of mutiny as FIFA congress votes 172 to 17 to go ahead with election.

Blatter addresses the Congress before the vote went in favour of the election going ahead [GALLO/GETTY]

Sepp Blatter will stand unopposed in the FIFA election after the proposal to delay the ballot was defeated by 172 votes to 17.

The English FA had received muted applause for their calls for a postponement as the mood at Zurich’s Hallenstadion pointed towards a coronation for Blatter, who has been president since 1998.

“We must put this ship back on course and for this we need a leader,” Blatter told delegates after the vote. “I am willing to do this.”
He added: “We have been hit and I personally have been slapped.

“I am ready to face the public anger.”

Al Jazeera correspondent Lee Wellings, reporting from Zurich, said, “The election of FIFA president is now very much a formality. The attempt of the English Football Association to delay the vote failed miserably and left them adrift really with attacks from all angles with 172 of the people voting said the election had to go ahead.”

“That leaves Sepp Blatter in a very very strong position. His tactics worked, he went around the six federations and said “we need unity, solidarity, we need to come together,” he said.

“And surely saw demonstration of that and now he is in that position to get elected for the fourth term after 13 years already in power.

“Don’t forget that he was elected unopposed last time this isn’t an unprecedented but events of this week has been unprecedented, absolutely extraordinary.”

The FIFA president called on his federation’s 208 national members to help him solve soccer governing body’s problems without external help at the start of Wednesday’s proceedings, at which one-time challenger Mohammed bin Hammam was denied access.

The Al Jazeera correspondent said that Bin Hammam has been very unhappy with the treatment. He feels the ethics committee was hardly fair and he feels he has been punished without being found guilty.

“He really wants to get back to fight for his FIFA future. He wanted desperately to be at the this congress but he was a man left outside and he’s extremely unhappy about it,” Wellings said.

‘Troubled waters’

“We know that the FIFA ship is in moving waters, I could even say in troubled waters but I think this ship must be brought back on the right route,” Swiss Blatter said in an opening address.

“I’m the captain of this ship and it is my duty and responsibility to see we get back on the right route but I can only do it with you the 208 associations,” he said.

Hammam’s suspension excluded him from the Congress on a day when he had hoped to be elected [EPA]

“You are the owners of FIFA.

“You are the legislative body but you are the decisive body. I’m certain you can follow me in the idea that we can settle the problems inside FIFA either by… strengthening what we already have.”

Our correspondent said, “FIFA executive committee member Franz Beckenbauer told Al Jazeera that FIFA is Blatter’s baby, and Blatter said today ‘I am the captain of the ship.'”

Blatter said “he wants to keep going, he has huge passion for FIFA, has passion for football”.

FIFA has been beset by allegations of corruption, and four executive committee members have been suspended since October.

Wellings said, “People were wondering as the boss of the organization how all of these alleged things could have happened on his watch.”

“And yet he still continues to be so strong internally with so much support.

“I have a theory about that. There are lot of members of FIFA who have very comfortable lifestyle and job within FIFIA and why would they want change? They see Blatter keeping things as they are and that suits them just fine.”

Chuck Blazer took his place on the executive committee despite moves to sack him as secretary general of the CONCACAF federation.

Blazer was the author of a report which led to CONCACAF president Jack Warner and Asian president Bin Hammam being provisionally suspended on Sunday amid World Cup cash-for-votes allegations.

The head of Germany’s football federation meanwhile called for FIFA to re-examine the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

“There is a considerable degree of suspicion that one cannot simply sweep aside, and I must expect that awarding this World Cup under these conditions needs to be examined anew,” Theo Zwanziger told German television, referring to Qatar, who have strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

“I first would like to comment on how that should be done when I know more about the facts. Like I said, I’m an outsider and was not a member of the executive.

“The task now is to shed light in a determined fashion, punish the guilty and develop mechanisms that prevent something like this from ever happening again.”

Take charge

He rejected the English FA’s call to delay the re-election of Blatter, as this would leave the body without a leader to take charge and finally get to the bottom of the allegations.

Zwanziger however said he was pushing for a secret ballot, so any critics could submit a protest vote without fear of any reprisals.

Bin Hammam, the Qatari head of the Asian Football Confederation, said on Wednesday he was “sad and disappointed” that he had not been allowed to clear his name before the Congress began.

“I am very sad and disappointed over what has happened in the last days. I will never accept how my name and my reputation have been damaged. I will fight for my rights,” he said in a statement.

English FA chairman David Bernstein said on stage in Zurich that it was for the benefit of the game and of Blatter that he stood against another candidate “to win a clear mandate.”

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies