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May 13, 2011

Blatter warns of 'irreversible damage'

Sepp Blatter says that the football world would suffer "irreversible damage" if he was not re-elected in the forthcoming FIFA presidential elections.

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Blatter, 75, has been in charge of football's governing body since 1998 and has had to deal with the fallout from Lord Triesman's claims of corruption in the vote for the destination of the next two World Cups.

However, with challenger Mohammed Bin Hammam gaining momentum in the race for the presidency this summer, Blatter has written an open letter to Gazzetta dello Sport claiming that the outcome of the vote would threaten "FIFA's very existence" and suck them into a "black hole" without actually making reference to any opponent.

Full text of Blatter's letter, courtesy of The Guardian.

Dear readers of Gazzetta dello Sport,

What is this really about? In the case of FIFA's presidential elections we are not really talking about candidate A versus candidate B, but about whether in future there will be candidates at all. The election of 1 June could cause a tectonic movement with irreversible damage. What is at stake is nothing less than the survival of FIFA. The issue of whether this world footballing organisation, developed with success over the years, will continue to exist after this date or, whether it will instead be sucked into a black hole.

"Is the situation really that dramatic?" you ask. The answer is yes, in theory it is. I am confident I will be able to win the elections with a clear majority of two-thirds of the votes. South America, North America, Europe, Oceania and a considerable part of Africa and Asia will continue to support my ideas. However it is still worth considering what the alternative would be: no one.

A world organisation like FIFA can only be run with a pyramid structure. For this reason, I am often accused of acting in an anti-democratic way. And yet the truth is quite the opposite. Whether you are talking about Italy or Papua New Guinea, every one of the 208 associations has one vote and equal rights. In fact I should be accused of practicing extreme democratic thought - only this way is it possible to guarantee the universality of football, the decision-making power, however, can and must be exercised on a central level, as in any international group.

Football works because it is based on one rule of play that is shared and valid on every continent. If it was not this way, everyone would do what they liked. To put it another way: who would decide which rules to impose if the decision-making powers were delegated to the six confederations? The principle that every carpenter goes by is valid for us too: the roof will do its job only as long as the foundations are doing theirs. If the ground slides, the whole building will fall down. And this is what 11 June is about: all or nothing!

Cordially,

Sepp Blatter

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