Crisis what crisis? Blatter ignores graft claims

Updated: 31 May 2011 09:25 IST

FIFA President Sepp Blatter shrugged off the corruption allegations engulfing football's governing body here Monday, denying the sport was in crisis and ruling out a new vote for the 2022 World Cup.

Zurich:

FIFA President Sepp Blatter shrugged off the corruption allegations engulfing football's governing body here Monday, denying the sport was in crisis and ruling out a new vote for the 2022 World Cup.

After days of widespread corruption allegations that saw two top officials suspended pending a bribery investigation, Blatter broke his silence in a stormy press conference at FIFA headquarters.

"Crisis, what is a crisis?" a clearly irritated Blatter said. "We are not in a crisis. We are only in some difficulties and these will be solved."

Blatter also rejected suggestions that the vote for the 2022 World Cup - controversially awarded to the oil-rich Gulf state of Qatar - should be held again amid mounting allegations of bribery involving the bid.

"There is no issue for the World Cup in 2022," the 75-year-old Swiss said. "I believe that the decision taken for the World Cup in 2022 was done exactly in the same pattern and in the same way as the 2018 tournament."

Blatter was speaking two days before he is due to be re-elected unopposed by FIFA's congress following the stunning withdrawal of Qatari election rival Mohamed bin Hammam on Sunday.

Bin Hammam pulled out of the election race just hours before FIFA's ethics committee suspended him and Jack Warner, the influential head of the Caribbean, North and Central American federation (CONCACAF).

Asian Football Confederation chief bin Hammam, who earlier Tuesday vowed to appeal his suspension, and FIFA vice president Warner were accused of attempting to bribe voters in the election with cash payments of up to $40,000.

Blatter said the absence of bin Hammam from the election was no reason to postpone Wednesday's presidential election, where he will be seeking a final and fourth term following 13 years in power.

"If somebody wants to change something in the election on Wednesday, this is for the members of FIFA. It cannot be done by anybody else," he said.

Topics : Federation Internationale de Football Association Football Republic of Ireland South Africa Mexico France
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