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Blatter re-elected as Fifa boss despite corruption scandal

By Adam Hurrey

Under-fire Fifa president Sepp Blatter has emerged defiant having survived the worst crisis in the football governing body's history, sweeping to victory in its elections.

He was re-elected in a vote overshadowed by arrests and corruption allegations.

Mr Blatter (79) has faced down calls to resign, including from Prime Minister David Cameron, who said that the Fifa president should quit "the sooner, the better".

Seven top officials were arrested in Switzerland on Wednesday as part of a US prosecution that indicted 14 people. The Fifa chief hailed his victory, thanking all those who voted from him and his rival, Prince Ali of Jordan, who withdrew after the first round of voting.

Mr Blatter fell seven short of the two-thirds needed, but Prince Ali opted not to contest further. Mr Blatter said: "I am not perfect, nobody is perfect, but we will do a good job together I am sure." He also hinted that this term in office, his fifth, could be his last, saying: "At the end of my term I will give up Fifa in a strong position."

Irish Football Association chief executive Patrick Nelson revealed his body had backed losing candidate Prince Ali.

He said of the result: "We feel this has been a very important week for football and for Fifa. An important message has been delivered since news of the arrests emerged on Wednesday.

"We backed Prince Ali in recognition that change needed to happen at Fifa and the organisation must recognise that those who care about the game want to see an end to the negative publicity."

He said the IFA had to accept the result: "That's how democracy works and we all have to accept the outcome. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. We are very happy with the decision we made to vote for Prince Ali and he received a respectable number of votes, sending a message to those within Fifa that cannot be underestimated. Prince Ali had a good campaign and we were happy to support him."

He was diplomatic on Mr Blatter's re-election.

Mr Nelson said: "He is president of Fifa and while people will have views on him we are proud members of Fifa and Uefa and are committed to playing a role in both organisations."

The corruption scandal has left the organisation deeply divided, with several big names in football openly criticising Mr Blatter.

Belfast Telegraph


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