FIFA president Sepp Blatter was re-elected in the second round of voting minutes after he failed to garner the necessary two-thirds in the first round.
In his final speech before Friday’s election, FIFA president Sepp Blatter told the voters: “You know who you are dealing with. I also know that I can count on you. I am with you. I would just like to stay with you. It is a matter of trust.”
Blatter, 79 is seeking a fifth term as president amid the biggest corruption crisis in the organization’s 111-year history.
▪ Despite having a central role in the corruption allegations, Qatar says it will continue plans for hosting the 2022 World Cup.
Here’s a roundup of events on Thursday:
Blatter held an emergency meeting with continental soccer bodies Thursday, although CONCACAF wasn’t represented. Blatter hasn’t made a public appearance since seven corruption arrests were made Wednesday.
Speaking publicly for the first time since the barrage of arrests, Blatter said he was committed to rooting out corruption and bringing the individuals responsible to justice.
CONCACAF has encouraged FIFA to still hold its elections Friday, the day the elections were originally scheduled before the arrests. CONCACAF, the North American soccer governing body, said that all 35 FIFA voters believe the elections should be held. CONCACAF president Jeffrey Lee was among those arrested.
UEFA decided it would not boycott the election, after it made threats to sit out the elections early Thursday.
Qatar has refused comment on the FIFA allegations. The 2022 World Cup host country has fallen under scrutiny for poor labor conditions and corruption. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin, whose country (Russia) will host the 2018 World Cup, openly criticized the United States for interfering with FIFA operations.
A $10 million bribe allegedly helped bring the World Cup to South Africa in 2010, according to the indictment released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Justice. Three payments nearing $10 million were made to Jack Warner, a former FIFA vice president, from a Swiss account in 2008.
Corporate sponsors have voiced concerns over their partnerships with FIFA and the World Cup. Both Visa and Coca-Cola have displayed caution regarding the recent allegations. Sponsors account for nearly a third of FIFA’s revenue, according to recent reports.
Comedian John Stewart weighed in on the controversy during his Wednesday night Daily Show. Stewart mocked federal agencies for never nabbing FIFA despite the longstanding speculations of corruption.