Blatter cleared to run for re-election
SAO PAULO -- FIFA delegates dealt a crushing blow to moves to bring in term limits and age limits for officials -- surely making Sepp Blatter a FIFA presidential candidate in 2015, though he did not formally announce his re-election plans on Wednesday.
What he did reveal at FIFA's Congress in Sao Paulo was hurt and anger at UEFA's face-to-face demand in a closed-door meeting Tuesday that he step aside next year.
Blatter says "that was the most disrespectful thing I have experienced in my entire life."
Senior UEFA officials on Tuesday urged Blatter to take responsibility for FIFA corruption allegations and negative headlines for football under his leadership.
UEFA members did not intervene on Wednesday when Blatter offered his services to FIFA's 209 member countries.
UEFA and a number of European federations, including England's FA, had proposed bringing in limits, but that was defeated in a vote. The decision leaves the way open for 78-year-old Blatter to stay in office next year -- and for many years beyond.
Blatter, who said he was ready to stand again, faced calls from FA chairman Greg Dyke and a number of senior European members on Tuesday to keep to his 2011 pledge and step down next year.
He told delegates: "The candidature period is not yet open so no one can be a candidate. I know that my mandate will finish next year on June 29 in Zurich -- but my mission is not finished.
"And I tell you together we will build the new FIFA together. We have the foundations today. Congress will decide who will take this great institution forward.
"It's a tough decision but I can tell you I am ready to accompany you for the game, for the world -- but it is your decision."
The vote on limits came towards the end of a lengthy meeting where Blatter made the light-hearted suggestion that football could one day be played on other planets.
"From north to west to east and south ... and we shall wonder if one day our game is played on other planets and then one day we won't have the World Cup, we will have interplanetary contests, he said."
He also told delegates that the governing body was still involved in governance reforms.
"We are still in our reform process but we are at the end," he said. "Our basic values of football of discipline, respect and fair play could be brought in everywhere in the world, then we would have realised our objective but our objective never finishes."
FIFA delegates gave Blatter, their president since 1998, warm applause but no standing ovation.
Meanwhile, former FA chairman Lord Triesman used a speech in the House of Lords to liken FIFA to "a mafia family" and Blatter to Don Corleone.
Triesman, who was the initial chairman of England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup, has previously claimed four FIFA members sought bribes in return for votes.
"FIFA, I'm afraid, behaves like a mafia family," he said. "It has a decades-long tradition of bribes, bungs and corruption. About half of its executive committee who voted on the last World Cup have had to go.
Triesman applauded the stand taken by Dyke against the "grotesque" accusation by Blatter that criticism was racist.
"Don Corleone, I believe, would have recognised the tactics and he probably would have admired them," he told peers.