FIFA Scandal Deepens, Blatter Denies Crisis Talk

Blatter began a week in which he should be re-elected as president for a fourth term in combative mood, berating media for their lack of manners and giving Qatar his public backing.

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke earlier issued a statement denying he meant to suggest anything corrupt about the Qatar bid for 2022.

While all the talk outside FIFA House has been of a drip-feed of corruption allegations creating the worst crisis the game has faced, Blatter said his organisation was merely experiencing local difficulties they could solve internally.

It did not feel that way earlier in the day when CONCACAF president Jack Warner made public an email in which Valcke wondered if Mohamed bin Hammam, who planned to stand against Blatter, thought he could buy the presidency as Qatar “bought” the World Cup.

Qatar issued a flat denial of any wrongdoing and Valcke later said he only meant that the Gulf state’s financial muscle meant they were able to mount an effective lobbying campaign.

Qatar received further support from Blatter at his dramatic evening news conference, with the president saying FIFA had received no evidence that there were issues with the process to choose the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Blatter, the 75-year-old Swiss who has run soccer’s world governing body since 1998 and seen it grow wealthy on the sale of TV rights and sponsorship, will run unopposed in Wednesday’s election following Bin Hammam’s withdrawal on Sunday. Reuters