Sepp Blatter: Fifa president criticises Uefa 'disrespect'

By Richard Conway & David BondIn Sao Paulo, Brazil
Blatter dances at Fifa congress opening ceremony

Sepp Blatter has indicated he wants to seek a fifth term as Fifa president and called Uefa "disrespectful" following calls for his resignation.

He has been widely criticised over the damage corruption allegations have caused football's governing body.

But the 78-year-old Swiss said he was angered when a number of European football chiefs urged him to quit.

"This was the most disrespectful thing I've ever experienced in my entire life," he told Fifa's congress.

Ahead of the 2014 World Cup, which starts in Brazil on Thursday, Blatter said "his mission" was not finished as Fifa boss, indicating he would stand again for election in 2015.

His cause was helped when Fifa decided not to impose an age limit nor maximum terms for officials.

Meanwhile, one of Fifa's major sponsors has maintained the pressure on Fifa and called on the governing body to take "aggressive action" over the corruption allegations.

Earlier this week, Visa was one of five major corporate partners of Fifa to issue a statement in response to allegations.

Speaking to BBC Sport in Sao Paulo, the company's executive vice president and chief brand officer, Antonio Lucio, did not rule out Visa ending its relationship with Fifa over the issue.

He added: "We are looking forward to the results of the investigation and we will expect Fifa to take aggressive action on that because, at the end of the day, we want it to be maintained as a beautiful game."

Blatter also caught world football's ruling body by surprise on Wednesday by proposing a new television review system that would go well beyond the goal-line technology already being used in some countries.

He suggested that a manager or coach could be allowed to challenge up to two refereeing decisions in a game.

"If a manager disagrees with a decision, he could ask for an immediate television review with the referee," said Blatter. "It's something new."

Any such plan would need to be approved by the International Football Association Board.

More pressing for Blatter, though, is the continuing controversy over Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

On Tuesday, he faced calls from Football Association chairman Greg Dyke and a number of senior European members to step down next year, as he had indicated he would do in 2011.

However, Blatter was greeted with applause as he gave his closing remarks at Fifa's annual congress on Wednesday.

"I know that my mandate will finish next year on 29 May in Zurich, but my mission is not finished," he said.

"We will build the new Fifa together. We have the foundations today because we have the budget for the next four years.

"Congress, you will decide who takes this great institution forward, but I can tell you I am ready to accompany you in the future."

At the annual congress, Fifa investigator Michael Garcia said he had already reviewed the majority of the files obtained by the Sunday Times as part of his long-running examination of the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid.

The New York lawyer announced last week that he would not extend the investigation beyond 9 June after the British newspaper published a series of articles based on a huge leak of secret emails and documents.

That prompted fears he was ignoring evidence that The Sunday Times claimed was proof that former Qatari football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam helped secure the 2022 World Cup for the Gulf state through secret deals and favours.

But Garcia told Fifa's congress on Wednesday: "No-one should assume what information we have or do not have.

"The vast majority of that material has been available for us for some time, long before the recent wave of media reports.

"We have gone to what appears to us to be the original source of that data and we are confident that we will have full access to whatever else may be in that data set and we will review that data for anything else relevant prior to issuing any final report."

Blatter is seen on a big screen as he delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the 64th Fifa Congress
Blatter is seen on a big screen as he delivers a speech during the 64th Fifa Congress

Garcia also revealed that, over the last six months, he has spoken to representatives of every bid team involved in the joint bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

He said he and his team have "spoken to or attempted to speak to" every member of the Fifa executive committee who voted in the election in December 2010, whether they remain active football officials or not.

This would appear to suggest that Garcia has attempted to interview Bin Hammam, even though the former Fifa vice-president was banned from football for life for his part in another bribery scandal in 2011.

Garcia, a former US district attorney, is expected to hand over his report to Fifa's adjudicatory chamber in the next six weeks.

Blatter said last week that he expected a summary of Garcia's findings to be made public in the autumn.