(WFI) FIFA president Sepp Blatter has told his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini he will not step down as pressure mounts on the embattled Swiss following the latest corruption scandal to tarnish his leadership.
According to the BBC, the 79-year-old was asked by the Frenchman to resign on Thursday morning. He said no, and should the election still go ahead – it’s item 17 on the agenda tomorrow – he remains favourite to win a fifth term as head of world football.
English FA head Greg Dyke also called for Blatter to step aside. And he told Sky Sports News that he thinks the tide could be turning for Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, the Jordanian seeking to oust the FIFA chief in the election. Dyke suggested Ali “could win” in the wake of the US-led corruption raid on a luxury Zurich hotel and indictment of 14 FIFA and sports marketing officials on racketeering, fraud and money laundering charges which sent shockwaves through world football.
World Cup sponsors including Coca-Cola and Visa are concerned. Visa said it was reconsidering its sponsorship, calling for an overhaul of FIFA’s governance with a focus on “strong
The FIFA chief convened an emergency meeting of the confederation leaders at the home of world football’s governing body, minus CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb who was arrested on corruption charges yesterday.
After a UEFA meeting in Zurich on Thursday, Platini and his executive committee ruled out boycotting the FIFA presidential election, according to Sky Sports News. David Gill also took a stand against Blatter, confirming that he would not take up British vice presidency seat if Blatter is re-elected.
Developments in this FIFA crisis unfolded elsewhere in Europe today.
Russian president Vladimir Putin waded into the FIFA scandal by accusing the US of interfering in FIFA affairs after the US Justice Department ordered Swiss police to arrrest seven senior FIFA officials on Wednesday. They were among nine current and former FIFA officials indictedd. Putin suggested the US was seeking to derail Russia’s 2018 World Cup plans. His comments came after former UEFA president Lennart Johannsen backed calls for Russia to be stripped of the tournament and said it shoudl be handed to England.
Backing Blatter’s re-election bid, Putin said: “Unfortunately our American partners are using these methods in order to achieve their own selfish gains and it is illegal to persecute people.
“I would not rule out that in regards to FIFA, the same thing could be happening, though I do not know how it will end,” he said according to Russia Today. “The fact that this is happening right on the eve of the FIFA presidential elections, gives one this exact impression.”
Football Federation Australia Backs Prince Ali
The FFA led by chairman Frank Lowy, who arrived in Zurich, today threw its support behind the Jordanian. A member of the Asian Football Confederation, which yesterday issued a statement in support of Blatter’s bid for a fifth term, the move could trigger more Asian support for Ali.
Lowy said: “FFA believes that profound change within FIFA is needed as soon as possible to address issues of governance and transparency.
“This belief will be reflected when Australia casts its vote in the presidential election, should it proceed on Friday in Zurich.
“The Board of FFA has reviewed the manifesto for change proposed by Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein and believes it provides the basis for a fresh start for FIFA.”