Will Sepp Blatter Win? The FIFA President Could Be Reelected Despite The Corruption Charges
Just days after mass arrests of past and present FIFA leaders on corruption charges, the organization has gone on to hold its pre-planned annual Congress meeting in Zurich Friday, and part of the agenda is its now highly spectated presidential election. So will Sepp Blatter win and stay on as FIFA's top dog for an unprecedented fifth term? The expectations are that he will be reelected, but whether that means he'll stay president is another story.
During the meeting, Blatter gave a president's speech and addressed the corruption charges filed by the U.S. Department of Justice earlier this week against nine FIFA officials. Blatter, who wasn't named in the indictment, described the case as "troubling times" and specifically noted the curious timing of the arrests, which took place two days before Friday's election. He called upon FIFA officials to rally and use the charges as reason to move forward. And so despite the embarrassing controversy, 79-year-old Blatter has subtly turned the corruption case into proof he needs to remain in power to wield a strong hand to self-police the organization.
These events have cast a shadow so let’s try to lift that shadow. Let’s try to lift our spirits. We can’t let the reputation of football be dragged through the mud like that. Because they are truly at fault, especially if they are found guilty.
Despite the number of scandals during his tenure as president or the recent calls for his resignation, Blatter is favored to win over 39-year-old Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan. Voting is done by secret ballot, and the winner must take at least a two-thirds majority, meaning 139 votes out of 209. If that doesn't happen, a second round of voting will take place, and the winner then only needs to achieve a simple majority.
Members of the governing board, which represent various countries across the world, will cast their votes throughout Friday's meeting, and results could come as soon as 11 a.m. ET. The Guardian had predicted Blatter would retain votes from North and Central America and Caribbean, Africa, Asia, South America, and Oceania. Prince Ali was expected to take much of the votes in Europe.
Since Wednesday, there have been some rumblings of switched votes. On Friday, New Zealand Football announced it would break rank and throw its support behind Prince Ali. Football Federation Australia also said it would back Prince Ali in light of the corruption charges. But all in all, everyone will likely stick with their original intentions, which will probably award Blatter another four-year term as FIFA president.
But just because he wins the election doesn't guarantee he'll keep the job. The global outcry against FIFA has been huge, with even British Prime Minister David Cameron supporting calls for Blatter to step down. While the vote will be a telling sign of where Blatter stands within FIFA, the aftermath of the election will show how the world sees Blatter as president. And that could be enough to knock him off the throne.
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