Embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter appeared unfazed as the 65th Congress of football’s world governing body opened in Zurich.
His speech to the Congress this morning was littered with idioms and clichés but he made it clear that he felt that the scandal engulfing FIFA was the fault of individuals and not the entire body.
Twitter users were quick to pick up on the more notable phrases from the incumbent leader.
Blatter used many a football metaphor to talk about the corruption scandal in his address:
“There are limits on the pitch of the goal-lines, the sidelines, there’s a referee and a time limit. Outside the pitches there are no geographical limits, no time limits, no referee. So who needs to supervise this situation?”
“Certain individuals who have forgotten that Fifa is based on respect discipline and a team sport with the same goal. We need to be singing from the same song sheet, especially when we talk of the character of the organisation. It’s our goal to share this respect with all of you.”
He is running for a fifth term just days after FIFA officials were arrested on corruption charges, marking the worst crisis in the organisation’s history. During his speech he questioned the timings of the arrests, not going so far as to suggest it was a ‘coincidence’ but added he had a ‘small question mark’.
Blatter is expected to easily defeat his only rival, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan.
He has so far fobbed off calls to resign and is expected to retain the support of Asia, Africa and the Americas. The head of Europe’s football governing body UEFA has called for Blatter to step down, and has even threatened a boycott of the 2018 World Cup.
At the Congress Michael van Praag, President of the Dutch Football Association who withdrew from the presidential contest last week in order to boost Prince Ali’s vote said he thought that Blatter should step down adding, “I already was of the opinion last year in Sao Paolo and I went to his office on January 9 to convince him to do it. He didn’t do it.”
British newspaper the Financial Times has suggested Blatter is a genius for recognising that there is a new world order where the traditional western powers hold little influence.
However, there are indications UEFA could yet throw its weight around by calling an extraordinary meeting if Blatter wins, and a motion of no confidence could be put forward.