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Jun 18, 2013

Valcke: Blatter should stay

RIO DE JANEIRO -- The chances that Sepp Blatter reverses a previous pledge and stands again for the FIFA presidency are getting better.

Before being re-elected unopposed in 2011, Blatter promised to stand aside after serving a final term but he has spent months dropping hints he wants to remain in the job.

And Blatter's closest aide, once considered a possible successor himself, has now publicly urged the 77-year-old Swiss to seek a fifth four-year term in the 2015 presidential poll.

"The current president is very good," FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke said at a conference in Brazil during the Confederations Cup. "Why should he not run again? Why should he not remain as the FIFA president? I mean, he's doing a great job."

Valcke, FIFA's top administrator, played down the chances of succeeding Blatter himself.

"Why change a team which is a good team and a winning team? We'll see," Valcke said in Rio de Janeiro. "I mean, we have time. 2015 is in a bit less than two years, so, we'll see. "

At FIFA's Congress in Mauritius last month, Blatter helped to ensure that the key part of his reform agenda -- term limits and age restrictions -- was pushed back to next year's gathering of world football leaders.

Blatter, who has been in office since 1998 and remains in apparent good health, said it was "cynical" that UEFA seemed to want age and term limits restricted to the presidency.

UEFA President Michel Platini has long been thought to be likely to seek FIFA's top job in 2015, an ambition that could be stymied by Blatter seeking to stay on.

Blatter appears to be making moves to enhance his own re-election prospects, trying to broaden his support among Asian football leaders last month by saying the region should be guaranteed more than just four World Cup places at the expense of European representation.

Blatter was re-elected unopposed by FIFA members in 2011 after challenger Mohamed bin Hammam withdrew over a bribery scandal days before the vote.

Corruption allegations surrounding FIFA have mounted since then, with several members of Blatter's executive committee discredited.

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