Sepp Blatter has been re-elected as president of FIFA after challenger Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan withdrew from consideration.
Prince Ali conceded defeat after the first round of voting, when Blatter initially failed to earn the necessary 140 votes for a two-thirds majority. The first round of voting was 133 for Blatter and 73 for Prince Ali.
“I like you, I like my job,” Blatter said during his victory speech in front of cheering voters. “I am not perfect, nobody is perfect, but we will do a good job together I am sure.”
Blatter was unanimously elected to his fourth term four years ago, but Friday’s election was made more interesting after FIFA was hit with its worst scandal in its 111-year history earlier in the week.
Prince Ali had promised to change FIFA’s tainted image, but voters ultimately decided to keep Blatter as the organization’s president. Before the second round of voting, Prince Ali stood on stage and conceded defeat.
“I want to thank all of you who were brave enough to support me,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful journey in terms of knowing you, working with you.”
The result came at the end of a day that had been interrupted by a protest and an anonymous security threat at the Hallenstadion.
Delegates at the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich opted for Blatter despite the widespread controversy which engulfed the event this week.
Seven FIFA officials, including FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb, were arrested at dawn by Swiss authorities on request of the U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday and are facing extradition to the United States on money laundering, racketeering and wire fraud charges.
In all, 11 individuals were also banned from FIFA activities for their alleged part in the corruption scandals.
The Swiss Office of the Attorney General also announced its own investigation into the awarding of the Russian and Qatari World Cups against persons unknown on charges of “criminal mismanagement and money laundering” with FIFA’s plush headquarters being raided in the process.
IRS chief of criminal investigation Richard Webber has described the events as “a World Cup of fraud” and American investigations are set to continue.
Despite the arrests and alleged graft which has taken place on his watch, Blatter had earlier insisted that only a “tiny minority” of officials at FIFA were corruptible and has reiterated his belief all week that he remained the man to lead FIFA out of its current storm.
UEFA president Michel Platini tried in vain this week to persuade Blatter to step aside as president in order to usher in a new era at FIFA and also confirmed UEFA’s votes would largely go to the challenger Prince Ali. However, the Jordanian royal was unable to garner the necessary votes to topple Blatter, who can now settle in for four more years at FIFA HQ, where he will serve as president until the age of 83.
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati announced late Thursday that his federation would vote against Blatter. U.S. Soccer was not the only CONCACAF nation that believed Prince Ali was the better alternative to Blatter, with Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani also announcing Canada would vote for Prince Ali. – Agencies