Defying calls to quit, Sepp Blatter has confirmed his decision to seek a fifth term as the president of global football’s governing FIFA in Friday’s election.
Speaking at the opening of the FIFA Congress in Zurich on Thursday, Blatter called the scandal “unprecedented and difficult” but refused to step down despite being asked to do so by Michel Platini, President of European football’s governing body UEFA.
Blatter’s remarks were the first since the arrests of high-ranking FIFA officials for corruption and bribery on Wednesday in Zurich, with separate investigations launched in the US and Switzerland.
“The events of yesterday have cast a long shadow over football and over this week’s congress,” Blatter said.
“These are unprecedented and difficult times for FIFA. The actions of individuals have proven to bring shame and humiliation on football and demand action and change from us all.
“We can’t allow the reputation of football and FIFA to be dragged through the mud any longer. It has to be stopped once and for all. Let this be the turning point.”
FIFA’s 209 members will vote in Friday’s elections, with a two-thirds majority needed to win on the first ballot.
If that does not happen, then a straight majority is required to win a second ballot.