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30 May 2015, Aljazeera (English)
Swiss incumbent secures four-year term in office after rival candidate Prince Ali withdraws following first round.
Sepp Blatter has been re-elected as FIFA president for a fifth time after rival candidate Prince Ali bin Al Hussein conceded defeat as the voting went into a second round. Out of the 206 valid votes, Blatter got 133 while Ali obtained 73 as neither candidate was able to obtain the two-thirds majority for an outright win. “I thank you that you accept me and that for the next four years, I will be in command of this boat called FIFA and we’ll bring it back to the shore,” Blatter said in his winning speech.
Blatter joined FIFA in 1975 and has been FIFA president since 1998. His win came despite demands that he quit in the face of a bribery scandal being investigated by US, Swiss and other law enforcement agencies that plunged the world football body into the worst crisis in its 111-year history. Speaking just before the vote, Blatter said he felt that he had only been with the organisation for a short time and wanted to stay longer.
“What is time anyway. I find that the time I have spent at FIFA is very short,” he said. “The more one ages the more time flies by quickly. I am with you, and I would like to stay with you.”
Prince Ali has also lost his place on FIFA’s executive committee. “It’s been a wonderful journey in terms of knowing you and working with you,” he said while announcing his withdrawal. “Thank you all who supported me and best of luck for the future.”
US authorities have accused top FIFA figures and sports executives of corruption, while Switzerland is investigating the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar. The scandal widened on Friday when Britain’s Serious Fraud Office said it was examining possible corruption at FIFA. A judge in Argentina has ordered the arrest of three businessmen accused of using bribery to obtain football media rights, and the Brazilian Senate moved to open a formal inquiry into football bribery allegations.
Marco Polo Del Nero, the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation, dramatically flew back to Brazil from the FIFA Congress shortly before the election. His abrupt departure followed the arrest of nine senior FIFA officials including former Brazilian football chief Jose Maria Marin. Del Nero told a press conference on Friday he did not plan to resign and “had nothing to do” with corruption.
FIFA takes in billions of dollars in revenue from television marketing rights and sponsorships, making it one of the wealthiest and most powerful sports bodies in the world. It has been dogged by corruption scandals for decades, mostly investigating itself and avoiding scrutiny by criminal courts.