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Sepp Blatter re-elected as FIFA president for fifth term
MUMBAI: Sepp Blatter has been re-elected for the fifth term as the president of FIFA, football’s world governing body, amid arrests and corruption allegations.
Blatter’s rival Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan had forced a second round of voting but withdrew. After blocking Blatter from getting a two-thirds majority on the first vote, Hussein, needing to switch around 31 votes his way, withdrew from the race before the conclusion of the second majority vote.
Blatter said, “For the next four years I will be in command of this boat called FIFA and we will bring it back ashore, we will bring it back to the beach.”
Blatter’s triumph comes days after 14 former or current executives and associates were indicted by the US Justice Department in sweeping charges of racketeering stemming from an alleged widespread culture of bribery and kickbacks.
Seven top officials were arrested in Switzerland as part of a US prosecution that indicted 14 people.
Blatter promised to make this four-year term his last. “The age is no problem. You have people that are 50 who look old.”
Blatter got near-unanimous support from Africa, Asia and many Central American and island nations.
Blatter has faced calls to resign, including from UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who said in Berlin on Thursday that the FIFA president should quit “the sooner the better”.
As reported by TelevisionPost.com earlier, Jeffrey Webb and Jack Warner – the current and former presidents of CONCACAF, the continental confederation under FIFA headquartered in the US, are among the soccer officials charged with racketeering and bribery offenses.
The defendants also include US and South American sports marketing executives who are alleged to have systematically paid and agreed to pay well over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks to obtain lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments.
The charges were announced by Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, Acting U.S. Attorney Kelly T. Currie of the Eastern District of New York, Director James B. Comey of the FBI, Assistant Director in Charge Diego W. Rodriguez of the FBI’s New York Field Office, Chief Richard Weber of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez of the IRS-CI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
Also, Swiss authorities in Zurich arrested seven of the defendants – Jeffrey Webb, Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Eugenio Figueredo, Rafael Esquivel and José Maria Marin charged in the indictment, at the request of the US.