Sepp Blatter’s Fifa Re-election Concerns Europe

Many European football nations have reacted with concern to Sepp Blatter’s re-election as Fifa president.Denmark’s Football Association chief called it “a defeat for transparency” while England’s FA Chairman said he might support a World Cup boycott.

However, the tournament’s next host, Russia, said it was pleased with Mr Blatter’s re-appointment.

Mr Blatter, 79, was re-elected on Friday, in a vote overshadowed by arrests and corruption allegations.

The Fifa election has taken place against the backdrop of the US’s indictment of several Fifa officials and the launch of a separate Swiss criminal investigation.

On Saturday, US tax official Richard Weber told the New York Times he was “fairly confident that we will have another round of indictments”.

‘European muscle’

Mr Blatter’s rival, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, had forced a second round of voting but then withdrew.

The European football body, Uefa, had backed Prince Ali, with president Michel Platini describing it as “a movement for change at Fifa”.

European FAs will meet at next week’s Champions League final in Berlin to discuss their next move.

“We have to see how best we can use the European muscle,” Irish FA president John Delaney told RTE News.

Europe’s seat at the next meeting of Fifa’s powerful Executive Committee is expected to be empty, as newly-appointed representative David Gill had said before Friday’s vote that he would resign if Mr Blatter was re-elected.

England’s FA chairman Greg Dyke said that he would consider a boycott of the World Cup if joined by other European nations.

“This is not over by any means. To quote the [US] Attorney General this is the beginning of the process not the end,” Mr Dyke told Sky News.

Meanwhile, Jesper Moller of Denmark’s FA told reporters: “Blatter is too involved in all the allegations of corruption that have taken up much of his time as president. But we must, of course, respect the democratic vote.”

‘Let’s go Fifa!’

In the first round of the vote in Zurich, Mr Blatter won 133 to Prince Ali’s 73, just short of the 140 votes needed for an outright win.

However, Prince Ali then withdrew from the vote.

In his victory speech, Mr Blatter said: “I am not perfect, nobody is perfect, but we will do a good job together I am sure.

“I take the responsibility to bring back Fifa where it should be… Let’s go Fifa! Let’s go Fifa!”

He also hinted that this term in office, his fifth, could be his last, saying: “At the end of my term I will give up Fifa in a strong position.”

Mr Blatter’s re-election was welcomed by the hosts of the next World Cup, Russia.

“In general, of course we are pleased with the result. Russia was backing Blatter. We also believe… much needs to be done to change football,” Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told state broadcaster Rossiya24.

Seven top Fifa officials were arrested in Switzerland on Wednesday as part of a US prosecution that indicted 14 people.

Those indicted in the US inquiry are accused of bribery, racketeering and money-laundering involving tens of millions of dollars since 1991.

The aim of the bribes was to influence the outcome of bids to stage football tournaments such as the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 2016 Copa America in the US, prosecutors say.

The seven arrested in Zurich – Jeffrey Webb, Eugenio Figueredo (both Fifa vice-presidents), Eduardo Li, Rafael Esquivel, Jose Maria Marin, Costas Takkas and Julio Rocha – remain in Swiss detention pending US extradition proceedings.

They can appeal against their detention by 8 June, but Swiss justice officials told the Associated Press bail was unlikely.

The first of the 14 to be arraigned in a US court, sports executive Aaron Davidson, pleaded not guilty through his lawyer on Friday.

Swiss prosecutors have launched a separate investigation into the bidding process for the World Cup tournaments in 2018 in Russia and 2022 in Qatar.

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