The Grand old man of FIFA wins his fifth term as President of the World Soccer Organization after beating challenger Prince Ali of Jordan by 133 to 73 votes.
BY STEVE NJUGUNA
Joseph Blatter won his fifth term as President of FIFA after elections on Friday at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. The elections came just days after 7 top FIFA officials including two former Vice Presidents were arrested on corruption charges and immediately widespread calls around the world came for Blatter to pull himself out of the running.
The 79 year old Blatter garnered a total of 133 votes as compared to Ali’s 73 votes. According to FIFA regulations, a candidate needs a two thirds majority of the vote to be elected as president in the first round and if the candidate does not achieve that total there will be a second round where the candidate who garners the most votes is declared the winner. It was supposed to be the case in this instance but before the second round Prince Ali pulled out of the race granting victory to Blatter who then controversially said in his celebration speech,
“I am the President now, the President of everybody.”
In a news conference later on in Zurich, Blatter also played down the current FIFA corruption crisis, describing the issue as “infractions” involving a marketing company operating in the Americas. He also complained about the coincidence that the arrests were done only a few days to the elections. He also denied authorizing a 10 million dollar bribe in relation to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
The defeated candidate, Prince Ali in his statement said, “It’s been a wonderful journey, and I want to thank in particular those of you who were brave enough to support me”
UEFA boss Michel Platini who has openly campaigned against Blatter congratulated those who took the step to vote against Blatter saying he is proud of UEFA for attempting to support change in FIFA.
For Blatter, it remains to be seen how he will handle the corruption scandals that are currently plaguing his organization as many are still calling for his resignation despite his strong backing from many third world countries.