Blatter re-elected as FIFA President amidst bribery scandal
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND (BNO NEWS) — Joseph Blatter on Wednesday was re-elected as president of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) amidst bribery scandal and calls for postponing the vote.
Blatter received 186 votes from the 203 member associations and will be in charge until 2015. The 75-year-old Swiss is the eighth president in FIFA’s history. After the announcement, he vowed to restore the credibility of the body.
“I regret what has happened in the last few days and the great damage that was inflicted on FIFA,”I thank you for your trust and confidence from the bottom of my heart.”
The re-election came one day after David Bernstein, Chairman of the English Football Association (FA), called for postponing the presidential elections due to ongoing bribery scandal and the lack transparency and accountability within the organization.
The initiative was backed by the Scottish Football Association and later joined by 16 other nations. However, a voting was held on the issue and 176 member associations out of 206 voted against it while 17 others abstained.
“We believe it was very important that we were true to ourselves by making clear our position,” said Bernstein “After hearing the speech from Blatter, we believe the calls we have made for greater transparency and better governance have been worthwhile.”
The FA and the Scottish FA also called for appointing an independent external body to make recommendations for improving governance and compliance procedures and structures within FIFA. This day, Blatter proposed the creation of such committee.
“We welcome Blatter’s proposals for the creation of a committee to oversee the improvement of FIFA’s governance arrangements. We wish to see the make-up of this committee include independent members, to ensure that appropriate solutions are identified using external benchmarks and expertise,” added Bernstein.
Blatter was the only candidate for the presidency as his rival Mohamed Bin Hammam stepped aside after being involved in a bribery scandal in relation to the 2022 World Cup bidding process.
On Sunday, the FIFA Ethics Committee provisionally suspended four Executive Committee Members for alleged violations of the organization’s Code of Ethics, including FIFA Vice-President Jack Warner and Hamman, President of the Asian Football Federation.
Blatter was accused of receiving payments from delegations during a special meeting of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) but later cleared by the Ethics Committee. After his re-election, he denied commenting on the allegations.
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