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Sepp Blatter ready to stand for FIFA presidency

By James Masters, CNN
updated 7:09 PM EDT, Wed June 11, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sepp Blatter confirms he will seek reelection
  • Blatter wants a fifth consecutive term as president
  • Swiss had pledged not to stand again in 2011
  • World Cup starts in Brazil Thursday

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(CNN) -- Like a pop star leaving their biggest hit for the encore, Sepp Blatter made sure he saved his best for last.

As a long day at the FIFA Congress in Sao Paulo came to an end, the 78-year-old announced he would stand for a fifth term -- reneging on a promise he made four years ago.

The news, which was expected, came after FIFA rejected the opportunity to impose age limits and maximum terms for officials.

"I know that my mandate will finish next year on 29 May in Zurich -- but my mission is not finished," he told Congress.

"And I tell you together we will build the new FIFA together. We have the foundations today because we have the budget for the next four years.

"We have the foundation, now we work. Congress you will decide who takes this great institution forward.

"But I can tell you I am ready to accompany you in the future."

The Swiss has been heavily criticized following allegations of corruption over FIFA's bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

On Wednesday, a number of European members urged him not to stand for president.

Speaking after a tense meeting between Blatter and UEFA members, the mood within the European camp was unequivocally clear.

David Gill, the English FA's representative on the Exco committee said: "The very fact in 2011 he was clear it was just for four years, that should have been the situation. To change his mind is disappointing," he said.

"I think we need a full, frank and open debate about what FIFA needs going forward."

Only Jerome Champagne, a Frenchman, has declared he will oppose Blatter at the May 2015 Congress in Zurich, Switzerland.

UEFA, the game's European governing body, has yet to reveal who it will select to contest the election.

Michel Platini, the UEFA president, is not expected to challenge Blatter.

Technology

As well as announcing his intention to continue in his role, Blatter also advocated the use of further technology within the game.

The revolutionary idea would mean that each manager would be given two challenges to contest a refereeing decision with television pictures used to review evidence.

This World Cup will see goal-line technology used for the first time -- but Blatter wants to see further changes.

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He told delegates: "We could do something more on the field of play.

"Why don't we give team managers the possibility of two challenges for refereeing during the match? If the manager disagrees with a decision why should he not ask for an immediate TV review with the referee?"

The meeting also heard a speech from U.S. lawyer Michael Garcia, the man appointed by FIFA to head an investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.

Garcia has been given the task of probing allegations of bribery and corruption, but his findings are not due to be made public until mid-July.

His investigation has been brought into sharp focus by a series of articles in the British newspaper The Sunday Times on the Qatar bid.

The newspaper claims to have unearthed millions of emails and other documentation which allege Qatar's former FIFA member Mohamed Bin Hammam used a multi-million dollar slush fund to buy support for the bid.

The claims have been strenuously denied by Qatar organizers, who in a statement released to CNN Sunday said they had been co-operating fully with Garcia's investigation.

"We remain totally confident that any objective inquiry will conclude we won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup fairly," it added.

The latest controversies come in the countdown to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which will start Thursday in Sao Paulo with a game between the hosts and Croatia.

Read: Anger over Blatter U-turn

Read: Media scrutiny key to FIFA reform

Read: Pressure mounts on FIFA

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