FIFA president Sepp Blatter is committed to standing for a fifth term in office, despite another turbulent year which has seen his leadership questioned time and again.
The 78-year-old Swiss, the FIFA president since 1998, is determined to stand in May’s presidential elections as he seeks to maintain power at the top of football’s world governing body.
Candidates have until the end of January to declare their intention to stand, with former FIFA official Jerome Champagne the only person to publicly state his plan to challenge Blatter, who is expected to continue in power.
It had been reported that Blatter was “weary” of the ongoing controversy surrounding FIFA – particularly the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, four years after the voting on the tournaments – and that secret discussions were taking place with the possibility he could stand aside.
However, Press Association Sport understands Blatter has been reinvigorated by events at this month’s Club World Cup in Morocco, is in good health and has no plans to relinquish his position.
In an end-of-year statement published by FIFA, Blatter said: “Public opinion is important because football is the greatest game in the world; connecting people, giving emotions, passion and hope in this world, so it’s very important for me personally at the helm of football to restore credibility.”
Blatter’s commitment comes after a week which saw the man in charge of investigating World Cup corruption quit with a parting shot at FIFA’s leadership.
American lawyer Michael Garcia resigned as chairman of the investigatory chamber of FIFA’s independent ethics committee after losing his appeal challenging the findings to clear Russia and Qatar to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Blatter then on Friday ruled out revisiting the vote for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments after FIFA’s executive committee agreed unanimously that an “appropriate” form of Garcia’s 400-page report should be published.