Joseph “Sepp” Blatter has confirmed rumours that he will stand for a fifth consecutive term as president of the under-fire governing body of world football, FIFA. The 78-year-old Swiss made his announcement following a FIFA executive committee meeting in Zurich on Friday.
The Zurich-based organisation has been dogged in recent years by allegations of corruption that continue to plague it. The previous presidential election in 2011 was mired in controversy while FIFA has come under fire over the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments to Russia and Qatar respectively.
“We can see that we are not yet at the end of our reform process,” Blatter said on Friday. “We are not masters of our own destiny.”
Joseph S Blatter was born on March 10, 1936 in Visp, Canton Valais.
A football player in the amateur Swiss leagues, Blatter started his professional career in public relations with the Valais tourist board.
He was elected as General Secretary of the Swiss Ice Hockey League in 1964 before moving to FIFA in 1975 as Director of Technical Development Programmes.
Six years later, Blatter was appointed as General Secretary of FIFA and then Chief Executive in 1990.
He was first voted in as FIFA president in 1998 and won three further elections in 2002, 2007 and 2011.end of infobox
Blatter said the sporting body’s congress meeting in Sao Paulo in the summer had asked him to stand again as president. He publicly accepted the mandate on Friday despite stating three years ago that his fourth term would be his last.
“At the moment I feel good. Who knows what will happen in a few months? If I have the right feeling, I would like to serve football further,” he said.
FIFA's presidential election - a post that Blatter has held since 1998 - will take place on May 29, 2015.
At the same press conference that Blatter made his announcement on Friday, FIFA confirmed that it would not make public a report from its ethics head, Michael Garcia, into alleged bribery during the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.
The decision defied calls from Garcia himself earlier this week for the report to be opened to public scrutiny. But Hans-Joachim Eckert, head of the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Committee, said that only the final verdicts would be made public if charges are eventually laid.
In the latest embarrassing twist for the beleaguered FIFA, executives were earlier this month ordered by the Ethics Committee to hand over expensive designer watches given to them during this year’s World Cup tournament in Brazil.
Switzerland has also been dragged into FIFA's corruption debate as it plays host to world football’s governing body, along with 64 other international sporting bodies.
Last month, Switzerland hosted a Council of Europe conference on corruption in sport and was one of 15 countries to sign a treaty pledging to crack down on the problem.
The Swiss parliament is also debating measures put forward by the government in 2012 to amend Switzerland’s legislation concerning corporate corruption that would make it possible to charge sports associations for foul play.