Uefa raises pressure as Blatter clings on to power

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The Independent Online

Sepp Blatter avoided a vote of no confidence in his presidency of Fifa, the game's world governing body, yesterday, although senior European officials remain unhappy with the incomplete answers he provided to 25 detailed questions about his conduct.

"I don't think he [Blatter] delivered all the answers but we will get together and see exactly where we stand," Gerhard Aigner, the chief executive of Uefa, the game's European ruling body, said.

Uefa's president, Lennart Johansson, put the questions in writing to Blatter earlier this week. Most dealt directly with the £200m bankruptcy of Fifa's marketing partner, ISL, and its financial impact on the 2002 and 2006 World Cups and other Fifa events to which it held rights, such as this year's cancelled Club World Championship in Spain.

"We are now awaiting the written answers Mr Blatter has promised Mr Johansson and then we will see if we have to go more in-depth," Aigner said. "A no-confidence vote is not what we wanted. I don't think we have made any attempt to achieve such a result. The questions ask for answers. Only after we have a conclusive view can we make a decision on what next needs to be done."

Blatter will not be free of potential controversy until he has answered all 25 questions in full. As well as the direct implications of ISL's collapse ­ which Blatter admits has cost Fifa alone £40m ­ he will have to explain the precise chain of command within Fifa, where his critics accuse him of autocratic influence. This will mean giving details of which companies and individuals have benefited from Fifa contracts in recent years.

Blatter remained upbeat yesterday. "There was no mention of any vote of no-confidence," he said. He added he could not foresee facing such a vote at Fifa's extraordinary congress, on 6 July in Argentina. "I can't predict my future but it is my feeling that at the congress there will be a better understanding. If we are not all friends at least we are comrades." There are many within Uefa who might yet beg to differ.

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