Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
FIFA President Joesph S. Blatter was today re-elected for a fifth term as FIFA President, defeating Prince Ali bin al-Hussein by 133 to 73 votes. This was not quite the two-thirds majority to enable Blatter to secure an outright victory in the first ballot (a two-thirds majority from the 206 valid votes was required), but Prince al-Hussein withdrew ahead of the second ballot.
Interestingly, despite the recent arrest of several national association heads (Jeffrey Webb, Cayman Islands FA (CIFA) President; Eduardo Li, Costa Rican soccer federation (FEDEFUT) President; Julio Rocha, Nicaraguan soccer federation (FENIFUT) President; Eugenio Figueredo, Uruguay football association (AUF) President; and Rafael Esquivel, Venezuelan football federation (FVF) President), FIFA’s media statement made a point of emphasising that ‘Congress had confirmed that all 209 FIFA member associations were entitled to vote’.
UEFA President Michel Platini, who yesterday threatened a UEFA boycott of FIFA if Blatter were re-elected, was more measured in his response today, but did not congratulate Blatter. “I am proud that UEFA has defended and supported a movement for change at FIFA”, he said in a statement. “Change which in my opinion is crucial if this organisation is to regain its credibility. I congratulate my friend Prince Ali for his admirable campaign and I take the opportunity to thank all the national associations who supported him.”
In his address to the delegates in the morning, Blatter had stated: “Events of this week have cast a shadow on football and our Congress. But the guilty ones – if confirmed guilty – are individuals, it’s not the entire organisation! Now, we, all together, have to repair the damage. Immediately! I’m calling on you to put FIFA back on the right track. You are FIFA, and FIFA needs you.”
After his re-election, Blatter stated: “First, I want to congratulate HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein. He obtained a very good result. Then, I want to thank you for the trust and confidence. I take the responsibility to bring back FIFA where it should be. And I promise you: at the end of my term, I will give FIFA in a very strong position. Let’s go FIFA!”
‘The IOC Session, upon the recommendation of the IOC Executive Board, may decide a one-time extension of an IOC member’s term of office for a maximum of four years, beyond the current age limit of 70’, reads Recommendation 37 of the International Olympic Committee’s Agenda 2020. On the opening day of the FIFA Congress, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach told Blatter, 79, and delegates that FIFA must learn from the IOC’s experience over allegations of bribery to secure the 2002 Winter Olympics for Salt Lake City and become more transparent if it is to regain its credibility.
FIFA’s Congress also approved the 2016 budget, which sets aside US$36 million for the organisation of the 2016 FIFA Congress, which will take place in Mexico City on 12-13 May. Under FIFA’s Standing Orders of the Congress, on p.71 of its Statutes, the 209 national associations may send up to three representatives to Congress, whose flights and accommodation will be funded by FIFA.