Monday 26 September 2016

Sepp Blatter full of blather as he sweeps to victory yet again

Adam Hurrey in Zurich

Published 30/05/2015 | 02:30

A delighted Sepp Blatter exults in his victory after the vote that confirmed him as head of Fifa for a fifth time
A delighted Sepp Blatter exults in his victory after the vote that confirmed him as head of Fifa for a fifth time

Sepp Blatter last night emerged defiant, having survived the worst crisis in Fifa's history to sweep to victory in its presidential elections.

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He marked his victory with a bizarre acceptance speech in which he referenced God, Allah, the need for more "ladies" in Fifa and compared the organisation to a boat.

In his victory speech, he said: "I thank you, you have accepted me for the next four years. I will be in command of this boat of Fifa. We will bring it back off shore."

In his rambling address he also said: "We need in this committee women. We need ladies. We won't touch the World Cup. I am a faithful man, God, Allah, whoever, they will help us to bring back this Fifa. At the end of my (four-year) term, I will give Fifa to my successor. It will be robust."

He finished off by chanting "Let's go, Fifa!"

He was re-elected to the football world's governing body in a vote overshadowed by arrests and corruption allegations.

His rival, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, withdrew after the first round of voting.

Mr Blatter fell seven short of the two-thirds needed, but Prince Ali opted not to contest further.

Read more: The week football looked into the gutter

On Wednesday, seven top officials were arrested in Switzerland as part of a US prosecution that indicted 14 people.

Mr Blatter (79), has faced down calls to resign, including from John Delaney, the head of the Football Association of Ireland.

"I am disappointed, though he (Blatter) was expected to win. I don't believe it's the end of this, I think it's only the beginning of the end for Blatter," said Mr Delaney.

"There's a court process in America and on top of that Uefa have to consider what's happened and Blatter himself admits there's a lot more to come.

"I think the Prince ( Ali Bin al-Hussein) got a decent score, considering he was relatively not known, but all in all I am disappointed.

"Its shocking for football, I mean I don't know of any other business or any other sport even that you can have six or seven of your closest colleagues taken from their beds, straight to jail and still have someone survive at the head.

"Working with Blatter has always been difficult.

Read more: Time for players to step up and lead a revolution

"We have a working relationship with Fifa… but I don't think I would be sitting down with Blatter for a cup of tea any time soon.

"Its not over yet, trust me, this is only the beginning of the end for him."

Yesterday, in Berlin, British Prime Minister David Cameron said again that the Fifa president should quit - "the sooner the better".

But Mr Blatter hailed his victory, thanking all those who voted from him and his rival, Prince Ali. Mr Blatter said: "I am not perfect, nobody is perfect, but we will do a good job together I am sure."

Commenting on the vote Matthew Kenyon, from the BBC said that: "If you read most of the world's media, Sepp Blatter's ability to hang on to power at Fifa is nothing short of miraculous.

"After years of negative headlines, the frenzy has reached fever pitch in the wake of the US allegations of corruption - even though Mr Blatter himself has not been implicated. And running through all this is a theme - bemusement that much of the football world keeps voting for him."

Nowhere is Sepp Blatter's support stronger than across Asia and Africa.

So why do most of the representatives from those two continents appear to be voting for him again?

Here's about as succinct an answer as you're going to get - from the president of the Nigerian Football Federation. "Blatter feels Africa. What Blatter pushes is equity, fairness and equality among the nations," he said.

Read more: Spurious sponsorship deals are linked to Russia and Qatar

But the corruption scandal has left the organisation deeply divided. Luis Figo, who withdrew from the election eight days ago said: "This vote has only served to endorse the election of a man who can't remain in charge of world football.

"Instead of what Mr Blatter said, the happenings of last Wednesday were not bad for football: they were bad for Fifa and for all those responsible that have lead the organization until now. Football is not guilty but it is the governing body's leaders, those who should regulate it, that have no integrity."

In conceding, Prince Ali said: "It's been a wonderful journey... And I want to thank in particular those of you who were brave enough to support me."

Global citizens' movement Avaaz, which started the #BlatterOut campaign, quickly condemned the re-election.

Campaign director Alex Wilks said Blatter's victory had "crushed the hopes of billions of football fans".

The vote took place at Fifa's congress in Zurich. In the first round Mr Blatter won 133 to Prince Ali's 73, just short of the 140 votes needed for an outright win.

Sepp Blatter last night emerged defiant, having survived the worst crisis in Fifa's history to sweep to victory in its presidential elections.

He marked his victory with a bizarre acceptance speech in which he referenced God, Allah, the need for more "ladies" in Fifa and compared the organisation to a boat.

In his victory speech, he said: "I thank you, you have accepted me for the next four years. I will be in command of this boat of Fifa. We will bring it back off shore."

In his rambling address he also said: "We need in this committee women. We need ladies. We won't touch the World Cup. I am a faithful man, God, Allah, whoever, they will help us to bring back this Fifa. At the end of my (four-year) term, I will give Fifa to my successor. It will be robust."

He finished off by chanting "Let's go, Fifa!"

He was re-elected to the football world's governing body in a vote overshadowed by arrests and corruption allegations.

His rival, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, withdrew after the first round of voting.

Mr Blatter fell seven short of the two-thirds needed, but Prince Ali opted not to contest further.

On Wednesday, seven top officials were arrested in Switzerland as part of a US prosecution that indicted 14 people.

Mr Blatter (79), has faced down calls to resign, including from John Delaney, the head of the Football Association of Ireland.

"I am disappointed, though he (Blatter) was expected to win. I don't believe it's the end of this, I think it's only the beginning of the end for Blatter," said Mr Delaney.

"There's a court process in America and on top of that Uefa have to consider what's happened and Blatter himself admits there's a lot more to come.

"I think the Prince ( Ali Bin al-Hussein) got a decent score, considering he was relatively not known, but all in all I am disappointed .

"Its shocking for football, I mean I don't know of any other business or any other sport even that you can have six or seven of your closest colleagues taken from their beds, straight to jail and still have someone survive at the head.

"Working with Blatter has always been difficult.

"We have a working relationship with Fifa… but I don't think I would be sitting down with Blatter for a cup of tea any time soon.

"Its not over yet, trust me, this is only the beginning of the end for him."

Yesterday, in Berlin, British Prime Minister David Cameron said again that the Fifa president should quit - "the sooner the better".

But Mr Blatter hailed his victory, thanking all those who voted from him and his rival, Prince Ali. Mr Blatter said: "I am not perfect, nobody is perfect, but we will do a good job together I am sure."

Commenting on the vote Matthew Kenyon, from the BBC said that: "If you read most of the world's media, Sepp Blatter's ability to hang on to power at Fifa is nothing short of miraculous.

"After years of negative headlines, the frenzy has reached fever pitch in the wake of the US allegations of corruption - even though Mr Blatter himself has not been implicated. And running through all this is a theme - bemusement that much of the football world keeps voting for him."

Nowhere is Sepp Blatter's support stronger than across Asia and Africa. So why do most of the representatives from those two continents appear to be voting for him again?

Here's about as succinct an answer as you're going to get - from the president of the Nigerian Football Federation. "Blatter feels Africa. What Blatter pushes is equity, fairness and equality among the nations," he said.

But the corruption scandal has left the organisation deeply divided. Luis Figo, who withdrew from the election eight days ago said: "This vote has only served to endorse the election of a man who can't remain in charge of world football. Instead of what Mr Blatter said, the happenings of last Wednesday were not bad for football: they were bad for Fifa and for all those responsible that have lead the organization until now. Football is not guilty but it is the governing body's leaders, those who should regulate it, that have no integrity or honesty."

In conceding, Prince Ali said: "It's been a wonderful journey... And I want to thank in particular those of you who were brave enough to support me."

Global citizens' movement Avaaz, which started the #BlatterOut campaign, quickly condemned the re-election.

Campaign director Alex Wilks said: "More dirty dealings in Fifa's halls have crushed the hopes of billions of football fans."

The vote took place at Fifa's congress in Zurich. In the first round Mr Blatter won 133 to Prince Ali's 73, just short of the 140 votes needed for an outright win.

The two candidates had earlier delivered final appeals to the electors.

Irish Independent

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