FIFA: Blatter survives, easily winning election to fifth term

Embattled Sepp Blatter won election for a fifth four-year term as FIFA president, defeating his sole opponent, Prince Ali of Jordan. Blatter had a 133-73 edge in the first round, which required two-thirds of the 209 votes for a winner to be declared, but following the balloting, Prince Ali conceded, thanking those "brave enough" to support him.

In a rambling acceptance speech, Blatter said he wanted to change the confederation representation on the executive committee and added that more women needed to be on the committee. Time and again in his acceptance speech and closing Congress remarks, he talked about helping his "Ocean 11," the 11-member Oceania confederation.

Despite a scandal-ridden history dating back to charges of improprieties with his first election in 1998 and the indictments on Wednesday of 14 FIFA officials and sports executives on charges related to kickback schemes totaling more than $150 million, Blatter had been expected to win easily, based on support from traditional power bases in Asia and Africa, which account for almost half of FIFA's 209 members.

FIFA's 209 Members:
54 CAF (Africa)
53 UEFA (Europe)
46 AFC (Asia)
35 Concacaf (North, Central America & Caribbean)
11 Oceania
10 Conmebol (South America)

Kuwait's Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, an international sports power broker and new addition to FIFA’s executive committee, came out in support of the 79-year-old Blatter, for whom he is now considered a possible successor following the arrest of Blatter protege Jeffrey Webb, the president of Concacaf.

"FIFA should have a leader with a lot of experience," Sheikh Ahmad, president of the Olympic Council of Asia, told Reuters. "Not only that, but someone who has shown a strong commitment to the AFC over many years and Blatter has done that."

While Blatter's support from Asia was overwhelming -- Prince Ali's support was believed to limited to members of the West Asian Football Federation that he founded -- Africa was voting as a bloc for Blatter.

Blatter's Five Elections:
1998 Blatter 111 Johansson 80
2002 Blatter 139 Hayatou 56
2007 Blatter unopposed
2011 Blatter 186 uncast votes 17
2015 Blatter 133 Prince Ali 73

The biggest opposition to Blatter came not for the first time from UEFA, where as many as 46 of its 53 members were supporting Prince Ali, according to its president, Michel Platini. Conmebol, at the center of the kickback scandal, withdrew its support for Blatter. Concacaf was believed to be split.

Gulati: 'This is a vote for good governance'

U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, a member of FIFA’s powerful executive committee, had on Thursday said his organization would vote for the Princeton-educated Prince Ali, 39.

“It really starts with his views on governance and reform,” said Gulati. “This is a vote for good governance.”

The vote was not taken lightly, given the possibility of the political fallout from the vote in 2017 when the USA is expected to bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

“Would we like to host the [’26] World Cup? The answer is, of course, yes," said Gulati. "But for me and U.S. soccer, having CONCACAF and FIFA governed and managed with integrity is far more important than hosting the World Cup or any other event. And that’s our focus right now.”

Following Blatter's reelection, Gulati issued the following statement:

"While we are disappointed in the result of the election, we will continue to push for meaningful change within FIFA. Our goal is for governance of FIFA that is responsible, accountable, transparent and focused solely on the best interests of the game. This is what FIFA needs and deserves, and what the people who love our game around the world demand. We congratulate President Blatter and it is our hope he will make reform his number one priority to ensure the integrity of the sport across the world."

10 comments about "FIFA: Blatter survives, easily winning election to fifth term".
  1. Mike Jacome, May 29, 2015 at 1:39 p.m.

    “Would we like to host the [’26] World Cup? The answer is, of course, yes," said Gulati. "But for me and U.S. soccer, having CONCACAF and FIFA governed and managed with integrity is far more important than hosting the World Cup or any other event. And that’s our focus right now.” Well said. This should be priority one cleanse world football of these sewer rats. This so called democracy in FIFA needs to be terminated it promotes too much corruption. We need transparency.

  2. David Huff, May 29, 2015 at 2:10 p.m.

    It may be time to form a new soccer/football organization. Let Africa and Asia have their corrupt FIFA but without the $$ they have been sucking from Europe and the USA. Blatter can move FIFA headquarters to Lagos which is more reflective of their corrupt culture. Europe and the Americas can form a stronger and richer governing body to leave FIFA in the dust bereft of the lucrative TV deals, sponsoring and marketing $$ that they currently enjoy. It is time for this change.

  3. Ric Fonseca, May 29, 2015 at 2:39 p.m.

    Mike and David, thank you for your comments! However, I agree more with Mike concerning the complete, COMPLETE, revamping of the FIFA higherarchy as well as our own CONCACAF, but for Gulati to have prematurely said US would support Ali, I feel that this was an ill-thought-out and spoken statement, what with Bladder now back on his throne, could he - Bladder very well support a US bid? And so as for David's suggestion to split up the Federation, unlikely and will never happen. It is akin to have the NCAA break up into independent and separate sports organizations each with it's own headquarters in various states, i.g. baseball in Kansas, basketball in NY, swimming in Florida and track & field in California. So now that the perennial Game of Thrones wanna be king, is back, let's just say PLAY ON, and wait for the other shoe(s?) to drop and see who else will be ir is secretly indicted!

  4. charles davenport, May 29, 2015 at 3:19 p.m.

    I agree with David; North America, South America, Europe, and whatever other countries wish to join. Will the new Org. be less corrupt than FIFA? That's a low bar.

  5. Greg Morris, May 29, 2015 at 4:15 p.m.


    What your are saying is that Gulati and others should avoid coming out publicly against Blatter and just hope that the organization will be cleaned up? It is that climate of fear, the buying of not only open support but also silence, that allows the Blatter's of the world to survive and thrive. The only way the U.S. was going to get another Cup, even before this, was if FIFA was in a desperate bind or we were willing to join the corruption. If that is the price then they can have it. We should support those with the courage to speak the truth, not accept criminal activity out of fear that we might be excluded from sharing in the ill gotten spoils of criminals. If these investigations don't bring down the regime, what David is talking about is distinctly possible.

  6. Albert Harris, May 29, 2015 at 5:48 p.m.

    So Oceana, that power center of world soccer has more voting power than CONMEBOL. Well, what has South America ever given to the world of football besides Brazil and Argentina. Of course, Fiji and Tonga should have as much power as those minnows. No wonder FIFA has the reputation of being the most corrupt organization since Tammany Hall.

  7. Ron Beilstein, May 29, 2015 at 7:48 p.m.

    Sepp Blatter, head of maFIFiA....

  8. James Froehlich, May 29, 2015 at 10:44 p.m.

    How about this: UEFA changes its membership rules to allow any nation to join? The majority of Conmebol and Concacaf sign up---FIFA becomes a dead man walking. Africa and Asia sink in their own cash-less swamp. The biggest issue would be what UEFArules might have to be tweaked to accommodate the increased numbers and geography. The good part is that an organizational is already in place. Ideas??

  9. Gak Foodsource, May 31, 2015 at 11:21 a.m.

    Great idea James. If I am running UEFA, why wouldn't I want this?

  10. James Froehlich, May 31, 2015 at 10:31 p.m.

    If you really want to do something about Blatter then get his money men, his sponsors!! Coca Cola, Anheuser Busch, Visa, McDonalds, Adidas. Plaster their names and logos all over Facebook, Twitter, emails, etc! It only takes seconds and let’s everyone know who is supporting this crook!

    I have already posted the logos of two of these enablers Coca Cola and Anheuser Busch on my Facebook page. Do the same! It just takes time! Don't just THREATEN do something!!!

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