Sepp Blatter fights back against 'disrespectful' critics

 

Sepp Blatter has fought back against UEFA, claiming attacks from Football Association chairman Greg Dyke and other European officials were the "most disrespectful" thing he has ever experienced.

Dyke had told Blatter at a meeting of UEFA countries on Tuesday his claim that racism was behind World Cup corruption allegations in the British media was "offensive and totally unacceptable".

Dutch FA president Michael van Praag also told Blatter in blunt terms that he should step down from FIFA next year and not stand for a fifth term.

Blatter told a news conference after the FIFA Congress in Sao Paulo: "I have had to accept a number of blows, but what I saw and heard at the UEFA meeting was the most disrespectful thing I have experienced in my entire life, on the football pitch and in my home."

Blatter's position has been hugely strengthened, however, after FIFA delegates dealt a crushing blow to moves to bring in term limits and age limits for officials. It effectively gives Blatter the green light to stand for re-election next year.

UEFA and a number of European federations, including the FA, had proposed bringing in limits, but that was defeated in a vote at FIFA's Congress in Sao Paulo.

The decision leaves the way open for 78-year-old Blatter to stay in office next year - and for many years beyond.

He made it clear to FIFA's 209 member nations that he intends to stand again, though no-one could yet be an official candidate for the presidency.

He told delegates: "The candidature period is not yet open, so no-one can be a candidate. I know that my mandate will finish next year on June 29 in Zurich - but my mission is not finished.

"And I tell you, together we will build the new FIFA. We have the foundations today. Congress will decide who will take this great institution forward.

"It's a tough decision but I can tell you I am ready to accompany you for the game, for the world - but it is your decision."

Meanwhile, former FA chairman Lord Triesman used a speech in the House of Lords to liken FIFA to "a mafia family" and Blatter to Don Corleone.

Blatter refused to respond after Triesman, the initial chairman of England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup who has previously claimed four FIFA members sought bribes in return for votes.

PA

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