Despite the crisis engulfing world footballs governing body, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has been re-elected president.
The 79-year-old defeated his rival, the Jordanian Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein. Blatter polled 133 votes to Prince Ali’s 73, which though short of the required 2/3 majority, was sufficient a margin to persuade the challenger withdrew from the race.
“For the next four years I will be in command of this boat called FIFA and we will bring it back ashore, we will bring it back to the beach,” he said, again vowing to make this four year term his last. “The age is no problem. You have people that are 50 who look old.”
“I was a little nervous today. Now I am the president of everybody. President of everybody. President of the whole FIFA,” said the excited victor.
“I like you, I like my job and I like to be with you. I’m not perfect, nobody’s perfect,” he said. “Trust and confidence, together we go.”
As investigations continue in the US into a litany of bribery and corruption charges that led this week to seven arrests in dawn raids and charges against 14 senior executives, UEFA president Michel Platini, whose 53 members mostly backed Ali, had said that it could withdraw co-operation.
Platini said: “I am proud that UEFA has defended and supported a movement for change at FIFA. Change which in my opinion is crucial if this organisation is to regain its credibility.
“I congratulate my friend Prince Ali for his admirable campaign and I take the opportunity to thank all the national associations who supported him.”
FA chairman Greg Dyke has said that England could boycott the World Cup if other European nations decide to do so.
“This is not over by any means. To quote the [US] Attorney General this is the beginning of the process not the end,” said Dyke after the vote.
“The idea Blatter could reform FIFA is suspect. I’d be very surprised if Mr Blatter was still in this job in two years time.”
How the vote worked
To win in the first round of voting, a candidate must secure two-thirds – at least 140 of the maximum 209 votes from the FIFA member nations – which is something Blatter has done before.
In the second, and any other requisite ballot, a simple majority – which means more than 50 per cent – of the valid votes cast is sufficient.
If there are more than two candidates for the office of FIFA president, whoever obtains the lowest number of votes is eliminated from the second ballot onwards until only two candidates are left.
If there is only one candidate, more than half of the valid votes cast is sufficient in the first ballot. In the event, Prince Ali withdrew before the second ballot was held.
FIFA has had only eight presidents in its 111 years, three of which – Woolfall, Seeldrayers and Drewry – died in office. If Blatter serves until 2019 he would, at 83, be the oldest holder of the presidency. Jules Rimet holds the length of tenure record of 33 years.
Robert Guerin (France) 1904-1906
Daniel Burley Woolfall (England) 1906-18*
Jules Rimet (France) 1921-54
Rodolphe Seeldrayers (Belgium) 1954-55
Arthur Drewry (England) 1955-1961
Stanley Rous (England) 1961-74
Joao Havelange (Brazil) 1974-98
Sepp Blatter (Switzerland) 1998-present
(* FIFA had no president for three years after Woolfall’s death and was administered by general secretary Cornelis Hirschman)