FIFA Chief Brands Qatar Allegations Racist, Wins African Support for Re-election
June 9, 2014
Blatter at the CAF Congress, with Jerome Valcke and CAF president Issa Hayatou (INSIDER)
(WFI) Sepp Blatter today spoke of the “storm against FIFA” as Qatar World Cup bribery allegations continue to stalk his every move – and won the backing of the African football congress for his re-election next year.
Addressing the CAF Congress in Sao Paulo, the Swiss didn’t take long to remark on the latest corruption scandal to tarnish FIFA’s image.
Reports in the Sunday Times newspaper over the past two weeks allege that former FIFA presidential contender Mohamed Bin Hammam paid bribes to African football officials and brokered agreements between Qatar 2022 and governments to secure votes for the Gulf state’s World Cup bid.
“Once again there is a sort of storm against FIFA relating to the Qatar World Cup,” he told delegates.
“Sadly there’s a great deal of discrimination and racism and this hurts me.
“It really makes me sad,” he added, confirming that the latest allegations to hit Qatar would be discussed at the FIFA Congress tomorrow and Wednesday. He said FIFA needed to combat “anything that smacks of discrimination and racism”.
Warming up his audience to the moment when he would call on them to support his quest to be re-elected for a fifth term in 2015, Blatter said FIFA’s finance were in good shape. He said the bonuses to African member associations from World Cup profits would be increased, building on what happened for South
Blatter addresses African football delegates (INSIDER)
“It's for you, for us for everyone,” he said.
The 78-year-old spoke briefly about the two controversial reforms that will go before the FIFA Congress this week – votes on term and age limits for the FIFA president and ExCo officials.
Restating his stance that age limits for sports administrators “is a form of discrimination,” Blatter then appealed for African delegates to support his bid for another term in office. He was first elected in 1998.
“I still have the passion burning inside me,” he said.
“You will tell me yes or no and decide what you want.”
These remarks triggered huge applause followed by a standing ovation, clear affirmation that his strangehold on support in Africa remains strong and that no one can realistically challenge his ambitions to secure football’s top job for another four years.
“I understood you’re saying yes. I trust you,” he concluded before exiting the auditorium to attend the Asian Football Confederation congress in a hotel a few minutes walk away where he can be expected to perform a similar routine.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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