Joseph "Sepp" Blatter, the 78 year old current president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), confirmed that he will stand for a fifth term as the head of world football’s governing body.
Speaking via video link at the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester on Monday, the embattled FIFA Chief said “I will inform the executive committee. It’s a question of respect also to say to the football family, ‘Yes I will be ready. I will be a candidate’."
Blatter was first elected as FIFA president in June 1998, succeeding Joao Havelange. He was reelected in 2002, 2007 and 2011 but has faced mounting criticism over the organization of the FIFA World Cup, including bribery allegations over Qatar´s successful bid to host the 2022 tournament.
The only other candidate declared for next year’s elections is Jerome Champagne, the French ex-Deputy Secretary General of the Federation. However, Champagne said he would abandon the candidacy if Blatter officially announced his intention of running again.
Another Frenchman, soccer legend and current Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) president Michel Platini, was tipped as the only possible candidate with a chance to dethrone Blatter.
Platini announced on August 28 that he had no intentions to be a candidate next year. Blatter spoke about Platini’s decision at the Soccerex Convetion, saying he “was not surprised because in private conversations I have had with Michel Platini before, during and after the World Cup he confirmed he would not be a candidate.”
A secret ballot is scheduled for May 29, 2014 in Zurich.