Vote clears Blatter to stand again

Blackpool Citizen: A vote against age limits on FIFA officials has paved the way for Sepp Blatter, pictured, to stand for another term A vote against age limits on FIFA officials has paved the way for Sepp Blatter, pictured, to stand for another term

FIFA delegates have dealt a crushing blow to moves to bring in term limits and age limits for officials - effectively giving the green light to president Sepp Blatter to stand for a fifth term in office next year.

UEFA and a number of European federations, including the Football Association, had proposed bringing in limits but that was defeated in a vote at FIFA's Congress in Sao Paulo.

The decision leaves the way open for 78-year-old Blatter to stay in office next year - and for many years beyond.

Blatter, who said he was ready to stand again, faced calls from FA chairman Greg Dyke and a number of senior European members on Tuesday to keep to his 2011 pledge and step down next year. Meanwhile, former FA chairman Lord Triesman used a speech in the House of Lords to liken FIFA to "a mafia family" and Blatter to Don Corleone.

Blatter refused to respond to Triesman's remarks, but made it clear to FIFA's 209 member nations that he intends to stand again, although no one could yet be an official candidate for the presidency.

He told delegates: ''The candidature period is not yet open so no one can be a candidate. I know that my mandate will finish next year on June 29 in Zurich - but my mission is not finished.

''And I tell you together we will build the new FIFA together. We have the foundations today. Congress will decide who will take this great institution forward.

''It's a tough decision but I can tell you I am ready to accompany you for the game, for the world - but it is your decision.''

The vote on limits came towards the end of a lengthy meeting where Blatter made the light-hearted suggestion that football could one day be played on other planets.

He also told delegates that the governing body was still involved in governance reforms.

He said: "We are still in our reform process but we are at the end.

"Our basic values of football of discipline, respect and fair play could be brought in everywhere in the world, then we would have realised our objective but our objective never finishes.

"From north to west to east and south ... and we shall wonder if one day our game is played on other planets and then one day we won't have the World Cup, we will have interplanetary contests."

Triesman, who was the initial chairman of England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup, has previously claimed four FIFA members sought bribes in return for votes.

He said in the House of Lords: "FIFA, I'm afraid, behaves like a mafia family. It has a decades-long tradition of bribes, bungs and corruption.

"About half of its executive committee who voted on the last World Cup have had to go.

"Even its past president Joao Havelange has been removed from his honorary life presidency in his 90s.

"Systematic corruption underpinned by non-existent investigations where most of the accused are exempt from the investigation make it impossible to proceed.

"Foreign construction workers dying in their dozens in Qatar stadium construction sites are essentially ignored."

Speaking during a debate on the Queen's Speech, he applauded the stand taken by current FA chairman Greg Dyke against the "grotesque" accusation by Blatter that criticism was racist.

He told peers: "Don Corleone, I believe, would have recognised the tactics and he probably would have admired them."

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