Sepp Blatter 'to stand down in 2015'

Sepp Blatter will make way for a successor as FIFA president in four years' time if he is re-elected in June, he announced today.

Blatter is seeking a fourth term as FIFA president and is being challenged by Asian confederation chief Mohamed Bin Hammam.

The 75-year-old told UEFA's Congress in Paris today that if he wins he will definitely stand down in 2015.

Blatter said: "You know very well that I am a candidate for the next four years as FIFA president but these will be the last four years for which I stand as a candidate.

"Together we have the task of bringing together the adventure we have started.

"We want to ensure a better future for our youth."

Blatter's announcement appears to be a direct appeal to the 53 European countries to support him and then he will make way for UEFA president Michel Platini in 2015.

Bin Hammam revealed yesterday he would be interested in cutting a deal with Platini to oust Blatter - but the Qatari would certainly want eight years in office.

Blatter told the Congress that FIFA would now have "zero tolerance" for corruption - two FIFA executive committee members were banned last year after asking for money in return for votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting rights.

He said: "We can see cases of corruption that really hurt the whole football family and for this reason at the FIFA Congress we will show we will have zero tolerance.

"We will have zero tolerance on the pitch, more education, more respect towards the referees. There will be zero tolerance beyond the pitch - we have the instruments for that, the disciplinary committee, the ethics committee, and it's time to act.

"We will do whatever is necessary."

Blatter also praised Platini's plan of having two extra assistant referees behind each goalline, which is now being trialled in European club competition and international football.

He added: "I'm happy to commend UEFA for its revolutionary view of refereeing and having five or even six officials on or near the pitch, not just three or four - this is a compliment."

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