RE-ELECTED Fifa president Sepp Blatter has said he will not forget the “hate campaign” waged against him by Uefa following calls for his resignation.
Blatter beat Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan to secure a fifth term as president, but only after more than a third of the 209 footballing association members rounded on him in the wake of the crisis that has rocked the world governing body this week.
Uefa president Michel Platini personally asked Blatter to resign over the corruption scandal, and appealed for members to vote him out at Friday’s election.
His calls were echoed by both the English FA and SFA and Prime Minister David Cameron, who said it was “unthinkable” that Blatter could lead the change needed to restore Fifa’s reputation.
At a charged press conference in Zurich yesterday at which he also announced there would be no changes to the allocation of World Cup places for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, Blatter hit back at his critics, claiming the bid to unseat him was down to “English media and the American movement” because of their failed World Cup bids.
He said the arrest of seven Fifa officials on US corruption indictments was a possible attempt to interfere with his re-election, describing the issue as “infractions” involving a marketing company operating in the Americas.
Speaking on Swiss TV station RTS, he said: “No-one is going to tell me that it was a simple coincidence this American attack two days before the elections of Fifa. It doesn’t smell right. This has touched me and Fifa. There are signs that cannot be ignored. The Americans were the candidates for the World Cup of 2022 and they lost.
“The English were the candidates for 2018 and they lost, so it was really the English media and the American movement.”
Blatter added: “The journalists made a deal: Blatter out. It is a hatred not only by one person at Uefa but by the organisation of Uefa that has not accepted that I have been president since 1998. I forgive everyone but I don’t forget.”
According to the US Department of Justice indictment there are 14 individuals under investigation worldwide for allegedly accepting bribes estimated at more than $150m over 24-year period.
Several Fifa officials have already pleaded guilty – including Charles “Chuck” Blazer, a former member of the Fifa executive committee who has reportedly turned informant.
The US indictment also contains charges that a Fifa bank account was used to channel a $10 million World Cup voting bribe.
Asked at yesterday’s press conference whether he was the “high-ranking Fifa official” mentioned in the indictment who wired the money for apparent bribes to corrupt officials so they would vote for South Africa as the 2010 World Cup host, Blatter replied: “Definitely that is not me. I have no $10 million.”
It comes as the US Justice Department, which has so far charged 18 people over corruption allegations linked to marketing deals said more arrests could follow.
Asked if he feared where the US federal case was heading and his own possible arrest, he said: “Arrested for what? Next question.”
Blatter also confirmed that Fifa has moved to reassure its sponsorship partners such as Coca Cola, Adidas and McDonalds after Visa threatened to reassess its link.
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke, who has backed the idea of a co-ordinated European boycott of the World Cup, said: “This is not over by any means. The idea that Blatter could reform Fifa is suspect. I’d be very surprised if he was still in this job in two years’ time.”
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