Blatter hits out at authorities' attempt to 'interfere' with election

Sepp Blatter has claimed the arrest of seven FIFA officials on US corruption indictments may have been an attempt to interfere with the congress where he was re-elected for a fifth term as president.

Blatter, who beat Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan in Friday’s election, also criticised UEFA for what he said was a “hate” campaign.

Blatter hits out at authorities' attempt to 'interfere' with election

Blatter suggested in an interview with Swiss TV station RTS whether the arrests were “an attempt to interfere with the congress”.

He added: “I am not certain but it doesn’t smell good.”

Blatter said he was “shocked” by the arrests but suggested the United States was the “number one sponsor” of Jordan, home of his presidential rival Prince Ali.

UEFA president Michel Platini had called on Blatter to resign over the scandal, and the 79-year-old hit back saying: “It is a hate that comes not just from a person at UEFA – it comes from the UEFA organisation that cannot understand that in 1998 I became president.”

Asked if he would forgive Platini, Blatter added: “I forgive everyone but I do not forget.”

The US justice department has indicted 18 people related to football on corruption charges and authorities there said there could be more to come.

Meanwhile, FIFA has confirmed that England’s David Gill will not take part in FIFA’s executive committee on Saturday morning – he has refused to serve under Blatter following the latest scandal.

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has vowed to continue the opposition to Blatter.

Dyke claimed Blatter had been given “a bloody nose” and that he would be surprised to see him still in power in two years’ time.

Blatter won the first round by 133 votes to 73 and Prince Ali decided to withdraw ahead of the second round.

Dyke said: “This is not over by any means. To quote the Attorney General, this is the beginning of the process, not the end.

“The idea Blatter could reform FIFA is suspect. I’d be very surprised if he was still in this job in two years’ time.

“That was a bloody nose for him. It may not have been devastation but he never looked comfortable the whole time.

“It was as though ’you might win this one, but you might not win the whole thing’.

“That was a good result for Prince Ali, who had more than a third of the people in FIFA saying to Blatter ’we don’t want you’ – and given the powers of patronage that’s a good result.”

Platini reiterated his desire for change within FIFA, while congratulating 39-year-old Prince Ali for his ”admirable campaign”.

The Frenchman 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.“

Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan said: ”We are disappointed but unsurprised by today’s election result and will consult with UEFA to consider our collective position in order to achieve the essential governance changes required within FIFA.”

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