Blatter vows to lead FIFA clear of trouble as corruption scandal rolls on
Sepp Blatter believes he is the man to take FIFA forward as presidential elections loom amid crisis at world football's governing body.
The FIFA president – who is looking to win a fifth term in office on Friday – spoke on Thursday after nine officials were among 14 individuals indicted on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and corruption 24 hours earlier.
Blatter labelled the corruption saga as "unprecedented" and "difficult" for FIFA, but remains adamant he is the right candidate to lead a clean-up of the organisation.
Earlier on Thursday, a number of FIFA's major sponsors commented on the developments, some even threatening to sever ties over the scandal, while UEFA president Michel Platini revealed he had told Blatter to resign – a notion dismissed by the Swiss.
The 79-year-old will go up against Prince Ali bin Al Hussein in the presidential election in Zurich on Friday, both men looking for a majority of 105 votes to claim victory.
FIFA PROBE – HOW DAY TWO UNFOLDED:
- Visa threatens to "reassess" its sponsorship unless changes are made within the organisation, calling for "swift and immediate steps to address these issues."
- Sepp Blatter opts not to speak at the FIFA Medical Conference due to "obvious reasons".
- South Africa – World Cup hosts in 2010 – deny any wrongdoing in their bid to host the global showpiece despite United States Department of Justice alleging their government paid $10million in bribes to secure the event.
- Michel Platini admits UEFA would consider calling for a boycott of FIFA competitions – including the World Cup - from his member nations, while also revealing he asked Blatter to stand down.
- Platini announces UEFA members will vote in Friday's elections and will back Prince Ali's bid.
- Opening the FIFA Congress, Blatter predicts more negative headlines as the investigations rumble on.
- Despite the issues, the current president vows to fight on: "We cannot allow the reputation of football and FIFA to be dragged through the mud any longer."
- CONCACAF provisionally dismiss president Jeffrey Webb and Eduardo Li after they were indicted on Wednesday, with Alfredo Hawit taking Webb's place at the top of the organisation.