FIFA President Sepp Blatter was re-elected head of world football on Wednesday, vowing to clean up the body’s tarnished image following a series of explosive corruption allegations.
Blatter, 75, was given a free run at another four-year term following the withdrawal on Sunday of Asian football chief Mohamed bin Hammam, who was later suspended amid claims he tried to bribe voters with cash-filled envelopes.
Delegates at FIFA’s 61st congress returned Blatter by a landslide of 186 votes out of 203 after an 11th-hour call for a postponement of the election by England’s Football Association ended in a crushing defeat.
“We will put FIFA’s ship back onto the right course in clear, transparent waters,” Blatter said after clinching victory. “We will need some time but we shall do it. Our pyramid is strong because the foundation is strong.”
Blatter, who took over FIFA in 1998, has faced widespread calls for reform following allegations of sleaze surrounding the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, awarded to Russia and Qatar.
Several key FIFA sponsors had joined forces to call on Blatter to reform FIFA, voicing concern about the damage being done to the image of football by the wave of negative headlines.Changes approved
FIFA approved plans to change the voting system used for choosing World Cup hosts following the re-election of Sepp Blatter as president.
FIFA’s Congress voted by 176 votes to four in favour of a proposal from Blatter under which the executive committee of the 208-member Congress would choose from a shortlist prepared by the executive committee. Currently, the hosts are chosen by the 24-man executive committee. Congress also approved changes intended to strengthen the ethics committee and to create a new watchdog named the “solution committee.”