No crises at Fifa, says Blatter

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The Independent Football

Defiant Fifa president Sepp Blatter tonight insisted that football was not in crisis and said there was "no issue" over the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

He gave a dramatic solo news conference as allegations and counter-allegations between senior staff at the sport's governing body continued to swirl amid a row over claims of corruption.

Mr Blatter said he would move to toughen up the organisation's ethics committee but was pleased that allegations by former Football Association (FA) chairman Lord Triesman and claims in the Sunday Times would not prompt Fifa proceedings.

He spoke after the organisation's secretary general Jerome Valcke was the latest to wade into the saga, confirming that he sent an email claiming the 2022 World Cup was "bought".

However, he insisted he was referring to Qatar using their "financial strength" to lobby legitimately for votes.

Allegations of corruption have seen Mr Blatter left as the only candidate in Wednesday's presidential election.

Former candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam and executive committee member Jack Warner have been suspended from all football-related activity after the ethics committee said it would launch a "full inquiry" into bribery allegations made against them.

Mr Warner hit back by releasing details of the email from Mr Valcke, who wrote: "For MBH, I never understood why he was running.

"If really he thought he had a chance or just being an extreme way to express how much he does not like anymore JSB [Blatter]. Or he thought you can buy Fifa as they bought the WC."

Mr Valcke said later that when he referred to the 2022 World Cup in the email, "what I wanted to say is that the winning bid used their financial strength to lobby for support.

"They were a candidate with a very important budget and have used it to heavily promote their bid all around the world in a very efficient manner.

"I have at no time made, or was intending to make, any reference to any purchase of votes or similar unethical behaviour."