Blatter is bidding for a fifth term as Fifa president today as he goes up against Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, with the pair the only two candidates running for the presidency. However, Fifa has been rocked by the corruption charges brought against 14 Fifa members past and present that led to the arrests as part of a dual corruption investigation led by the United States’ FBI and Swiss prosecutors.
Both Mr Blatter and Prince Ali had the chance to address congress on Friday morning before the 209 Fifa Member Associates go to election, and Mr Blatter launched an astonishing and at times desperate defence of his leadership in a bid to sway voters in his favour.
The Fifa bigwigs facing charges
The Fifa bigwigs facing charges
1/14 Jeffrey Webb, 50, Cayman Iskands
A Fifa vice president. His arrest came as a big surprise, as he had been tipped as the man to clean up Fifa once Blatter departs. Webb is also president of Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) and the Cayman Islands Football Association
2/14 Costas Takkas, 58, UK
A British citizen, Mr Takkas is currently an attache to the Concacaf president. He was previously general secretary of the Cayman Islands Football Association, of which Mr Webb is president
3/14 Jack Warner, 72, (pictured), Daryan Warner, 46 and Daryll Warner, 40, Trinidad & Tobago
The former Fifa vice president and head of Concacaf was a dominant force in football for 30 years, but was suspended from his roles in 2011 amid accusations of corruption dating back to the 1980s and an investigation by Fifa's ethics committee. He later resigned, ending the proceedings against him. Daryan Warner, the son of Jack Warner is also believed to have co-operated with the FBI. He pleaded guiltyin October 2013 to wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and the structuring of financial transactions, forfeiting $1.1m. Daryll Warner, another of Jack Warner's sons, he pleaded guilty to various offences in July 2013. A former Fifa development officer, he lost the job in 2012 after his father's resignation amid corruption allegations. He and his brother both face up to 10 years in prison
4/14 Charles Blazer, 70, USA
The former Concacaf general secretary reportedly turned "supergrass" to help the FBI inestigation, using a bugging device hidden inside a key fob to record meetigs with his Fifa colleagues at the London 2012 Olympics. In November 2013 he pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and income tax evasion. Seriously ill with colon cancer
5/14 Rafael Esquivel, 68, Venezuela
Executive committee member of the South American Football Confederetion (Conmebol). It is alleged that officials at Conmebol, which organises the Copa America, received bribes from marketing executives
6/14 Eugenio Figueredo, 83, USA/Uruguay
The Fifa vice president and executive committee member is a big name in world football, having previously been at the head of Conmebol and the Uruguayan Football Association. A former right-back
7/14 Nicolas Leoz, 86, Paraguay
A former Fifa executive committee member and Conmebol president. When he retired in 2013 for health reasons, he said: "I've not stolen so much as a cent"
8/14 Eduardo Li, 56, Costa Rica
President of the Costa Rican Football Federation. He was elected to Fifa's executive commitee in March
9/14 José Maria Marin, 83, Brazil
The former president of the Brazilian Football Confederation is also a member of Fifa's committee for Olympic tournaments
10/14 Julio Rocha, 64, Nicaragua
Fifa development officer. Previously president of his country's football federation
11/14 José Hawilla, 71, Brazil
The owner and founder of the Traffic Group, a sports marketing conglomerate, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy in 2014. Two of his companies - Traffic Sports International Inc and Traffic Sports USA Inc - have also pleaded guilty
12/14 Aaron Davidson, 44, USA
President of Traffic Sports USA, is a large promoter of football events in America
13/14 Alejandro Burzaco, 50, (pictured), Hugo Jinkis, 70 and Mariano Jinkis, 40, Argentina
Alejandro Burzaco, a media executive who controls Torneos y Competencias, a sports marketing business. Hugo Jinkis, is the president of Full Play Group, a sports marketing business in Argentina. His son Mariano, is vice president
14/14 José Margulies (AKA José Lazaro), 75, Brazil
Although he is in broadcasting, it is alleged he served as an intermediary to facilitate illicit payments between sports marketing executives and Fifa officials
Addressing Wednesday’s raids in Zurich that saw seven Fifa members – including vice-president Jeffrey Webb – arrested and facing extradition to the US, Mr Blatter said: "I won't say it's a coincidence, but I do have a small question mark.
"You can't just ask people to behave ethically just like that."
Blatter also questioned whether the investigation into how the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively would have happened had other countries won the bidding process.
"If two other countries had emerged from the envelope I think we would not have had these problems,” Mr Blatter added. "But we can't go back in time, we're not prophets, we can't say what would have happened.
"The events of this week unleashed a storm,” Mr Blatter said in his opening statement.
"It was even questioned whether this Congress would go ahead but I am appealing for unity and team spirit to tackle the problems that have been created and to solve them.
"It will not be done in a single day, it will take some time.
"The important point today is to move ahead - and the important point is transparency. We have a problem to solve."
The meeting was temporarily disrupted by two protesters who managed to gain access to the main room and unfurled a Palestinian flag, before Mr Blatter called for "security" and they were removed. Before the Congress meeting, the Palestinian Football Association had called for Israel to be removed from Fifa.
As he acknowledged in his opening ceremony speech on Thursday, Mr Blatter accepted that there could be further troubles for Fifa in the coming months, but insisted that he is the man to lead the world governing body through the mire and regain the trust of football fans and Associations worldwide.
"We are going through troubled times. Events have thrown a shadow across Fifa. Let's try to lift that shadow. Let's try to lift our spirits"
"We can't let the reputation of Fifa be dragged through the mud. We have reached a turning point."
"These are individuals, they are not the entire organisation."
"We need to pull together and move forward. We cannot supervise everyone in football - that's more than 300 million people."
He ended with a plea to “stop the boat rocking”, which was greeted with applause from the Congress members in attendance.
"Help us put Fifa back on right track, where the boat will stop rocking and go placidly into the port."Reuse content