Blatter Returns for a Fifth Term as Fifa President

Sepp Blatter has won re-election as Fifa president after Jordanian Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein conceded defeat in a second round poll.

First round votes were deemed inconclusive as neither of the candidates could score the statutory 2/3 votes, only for opposition Prince Ali to concede in the run-off.

“First of all I would like to give compliments and express gratitude to Prince Ali. Because he was a challenger and he has obtained a very good result,” Blatter said in his victory speech after taken to the stage amidst a chorus of boos.

“He could have said ‘no, let’s go further and perhaps I would have received more votes’.

“But I thank you for accepting me for the next four years. I will be in command of this boat called Fifa and we will bring it back to shore.”

The FIfa vice-president for Asia had sought to unseat Blatter, who assumed the office of head of world football’s governing body in 1998.

Sepp Blatter Thumbs Up His Supporters after Winning a Fifth Term as Head of FIFA. Image: AP.
Sepp Blatter Thumbs Up His Supporters after Winning a Fifth Term as Head of FIFA. Image: AP.

For a first round majority, either of Blatter or Prince Ali needed to have pulled 140 of the votes, representing 2/3 of the 209 member associations who took part in the elections.

Blatter was nonetheless favourite for the second round after scoring 133 votes against Prince Ali’s 73 in the first round.

He has now earned another four-year mandate on the top job in world football.

Prince Ali said: “It has been a wonderful journey. I want to thank all those brave enough to support me, but I will be withdrawing from the race. I wish you all the best of luck for the future.”

Only the two candidates particated in the polls after ex-World Player of the Year Luis Figo and Dutch FA President Michael van Praag threw in the towel few days to the D-day.

Blatter had strong support from Africa, Asia and South America, but faced backlash from the Uefa, who have been ruing the recurrent cases of bribery and corruption, as well as an alleged culture of impunity among top Fifa officials.

“I like you, you brought me again into Fifa,” he said. “All those that have voted for Prince Ali, I congratulate you – he is a good candidate.

“But now I’m president of everybody. I am president of Fifa.”

Blatter, 79, ignored request by the head of European football governing body, Michelle Platinni, to resign in the wake of the biggest corruption crisis ever to hit Fifa in its 111 years of existence.

Frenchman Platinni asked Blatter to stand down in a face-to-face talk and has even threatened that the super rich confederation could pull out of the umbrella body if the latter wins re-election.

Platini said: “If Blatter wins Uefa will meet in Berlin next week and, of course, we can pull out of Fifa.

“There might be a proposal for something like a boycott of the World Cup. I don’t wish it but I’m there to listen to what people have to say.

“We know how many nations think about Fifa, about the money and facilities they get from Mr Blatter.

“But we all know how much football and Fifa depend on the sponsors and the partners.”

One of Fifa’s five high-ranking ‘partners’, Visa, has threatened to withdraw its backing unless football’s world governing body cleans up its act.

“I take responsibility to bring back Fifa, with you we will do it, I am convinced,” Blatter assured.

“I am a faithful man, now God, Allah or whoever we believe in, they will help us to bring back Fifa. I promise you at the end of my term I will give Fifa to my successor in a very strong position.”