Blatter appeared to use the AFC Congress to promote his campaign for re-election (INSIDER/James Corbett)

(WFI) FIFA president Sepp Blatter has given another clear indication that he plans to continue as FIFA boss beyond the end of his current term.

Speaking at the AFC Congress in Kuala Lumpur earlier today Blatter proclaimed with a laugh: “This is the last term, not of office, but of reform.”

His rival, UEFA president Michel Platini had returned from Kuala Lumpur to Europe overnight.

Blatter, who dropped his prompt cards early on in his speech, gave a somewhat rambling presentation, in which he touched upon a variety of issues including “devils” within the game, such as racism and match-fixing, the distribution of World Cup places and development money.

He praised the AFC Congress for its “discipline” in electing Sheikh Salman as its president with an overwhelming majority yesterday.

“What has prevailed in this congress is discipline and respect,” he said. “The congress has progressed in total transparency. Congratulations to the congress!”

The FIFA president spoke of “dangers” within the game, and urged the AFC to tackle football’s “devils”.

“One thing we have to eradicate is discrimination and racism,” he said.

“Another problem we have to tackle is the manipulation of results. The essence of our game is that you don’t know the results.”

He added that the rules and boundaries of what happened on the pitch were easier to define than what occurs off it and spoke of FIFA’s stuttering reform programme and its likely effects upon the AFC.

He then made several swipes at UEFA, including his apparent pledge to continue beyond 2015.

“Access to the World Cup should be a little better balanced,” he said. ‘We have to have a better balance. We should look at our economic partners.”

Europe currently claim 13 of the 32 available World Cup slots, which will rise to 14 when Russia hosts the tournament in five years time.

Blatter claimed that 50 per cent of the World Cup’s

Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman speaks with reporters after securing the AFC presidency (INSIDER/James Corbett)

revenues came from the Americas, 30 per cent from Asia and just 20 per cent from Europe – at the same time overlooking Africa and Oceania.

“You have the right and I have the obligation to bring it to discussion,” he proclaimed.

Afterwards Salman told reporters that the idea had to be “studied” and “argued for”, but said that he hadn’t discussed the proposal with Blatter who he had not met privately this week, despite the FIFA president’s arrival in Malaysia on Wednesday.

“The 2014 World Cup is very close, but we have to look to the future,” he said. “Our teams have progressed very well over the last few years and I hope that we can earn more slots.”

AFC Congress Business

Following the demise of Mohamed Bin Hammam in 2011 the AFC has been beset by a series of financial and political crises, with an internal PWC report last year critical of its dealings with its main commercial partner, World Sports Group.

However, accounts were unanimously approved and the internal audit committee concluded ‘no points of concern going forward’, despite expenses rising 45% from 2010.

No fewer than 20 separate amendments to the AFC statutes – which were shown to be lacking in several key areas during the presidential race; and out of line with the framework provided by FIFA – were passed without protest. Principal amongst these were the automatic accession of the AFC president to the FIFA Executive Committee as of 2015.

The exception was a proposed amendment giving the AFC Executive the authority ‘to issue special regulations’ over member associations’ marketing and broadcast deals. The amendment was questioned by the Japanese federation, and with the support of Jordan and Kuwait, was not put to the floor pending clarification of its wording.

A proposed amendment by Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal to article 31 of the AFC Statutes about the designation of the confederation’s FIFA vice presidency was unanimously rejected.

The Iranian Federation brought to the attention of Congress the fact that $1million of funds paid via Citibank following the 2010 World Cup had been frozen due to US sanctions against the country. President Salman pledged to campaign to release the money.

By James Corbett in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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