Fifa president Sepp Blatter has refused to accept any blame for the corruption scandal that has rocked the game’s governing body, claiming that he cannot “monitor everyone all of the time”.
The Swiss has faced widespread calls to resign from his post after the arrest of several Fifa officials on Wednesday as part of an FBI-led investigation into bribery and money laundering over a 24-year period dating back to 1991.
Uefa president Michel Platini urged his “friend” to walk away from the most important position in football for the good of the game, but the Swiss says that he remains the best man for the job and is confident that he can restore Fifa’s reputation if he defeats sole rival Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan in Friday’s presidential election.
“These are unprecedented and difficult times for Fifa,” Blatter said. “The events of yesterday have cast a long shadow over football and over this week’s congress.
“Actions of individuals, if proven, bring shame and humiliation on football and demand action and change from us all.
“We cannot allow the reputation of Fifa to be dragged through the mud any longer.
“I must stress that those who are corrupt in football are in a minority, as in society. But as in society they must be caught.
“The next few months will not be easy for Fifa. I’m sure more bad news may follow.
“But it is necessary to begin to restore trust in our organisation. Let this be the turning point.
“Tomorrow the congress has the opportunity to begin on the long and difficult road to rebuilding trust.
“We must earn it back through the decisions we make, the expectations we place on each other and the way we behave individually.
“I will not allow the actions of a few to destroy the actions of those who work so hard for football.
“We will co-operate with all authorities to make sure all involved in wrongdoing are discovered and punished.
“Many people hold me responsible… I can’t monitor everyone all of the time.”
As well as the arrest of several Fifa officials, Swiss authorities are pursuing an investigation into allegations of corruption relating to Fifa’s decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively.