• Sepp Blatter re-elected as president of FIFA in Zurich election 
  • Incumbent Blatter received 133 votes in first round; Prince Ali 73
  • Prince Ali conceded before second round of voting
  • The 79-year-old enters a fifth term at the helm of football’s governing body
  • His first challenge is to deal with £100m corruption scandal

Charles Sale In Zurich

SEPP Blatter was a dead man walking on Friday night despite FIFA’s electorate voting to retain him as president for another four years.

Blatter, severely wounded by the corruption scandals that have engulfed FIFA this week, defeated a weak opponent in Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein of Jordan by a much smaller margin than would have been the case before Meltdown Wednesday.

After an excruciating booth-style voting procedure lasting almost two hours because the USA objected to an electronic ballot, Blatter emerged the winner by 133 votes to 73. Although it was seven short of the two-thirds majority needed for a first-round victory, Ali withdrew from the contest.

Remarkably, 79-year-old Blatter still carried the day despite worldwide revulsion over the length of the FIFA crime-sheet on his watch, the old rogue saying: ‘I want to fix FIFA together with you, now, tomorrow, the day after, and in the weeks to come, so I can hand over a strong FIFA. We will start tomorrow morning. We have to build a better image and I know how to do it. I cannot disclose it now but we will do it as of tomorrow morning.

Sepp Blatter celebrates after his re-election as president of FIFA in Zurich on Friday night

Blatter beat Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein by a margin of 133-73 in the first round of voting, forcing his withdrawal

Blatter beat Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein by a margin of 133-73 in the first round of voting, forcing his withdrawal

Blatter is congratulated by daughter Corinne (left) and girlfriend Linda Barras (right) after being re-elected

Blatter is congratulated by daughter Corinne (left) and girlfriend Linda Barras (right) after being re-elected

The screen in Zurich displays Blatter's 133-73 victory in the first round before Prince Ali's withdrawal

The screen in Zurich displays Blatter’s 133-73 victory in the first round before Prince Ali’s withdrawal

‘We have a meeting of the executive committee and they will listen to me, they will receive some information or some messages and some of them will be surprised.

‘I would like to express my gratitude to Prince Ali. He has obtained a very good result. But I will be in command of the good boat FIFA for the next four years. I promise you I will give a robust FIFA to my successor. I like my job but I’m not perfect, nobody’s perfect. Let’s go FIFA.’

Blatter might say he has all the time in the world. But UEFA is leading a hungry pack of attack dogs who are going to hunt him down sooner rather than later. They are adamant that he cannot go on leading world football’s governing body after the crimes committed during a serial fraud culture in FIFA over the last 24 years.

UEFA’s 54 countries are meeting in Berlin on Thursday and Friday ahead of the Champions League final, when they will decide their next move. The options include withdrawing all UEFA representatives from FIFA — as England’s David Gill has already done — calling for a motion of no confidence in Blatter at an Extraordinary General Meeting, or even exiting the World Cup and every other FIFA competition.

FA chairman Greg Dyke said: ‘There would be no point pulling England out if everyone else stays in. It would have no impact. It would just be forgotten. But if you could pull UEFA out, that might have an impact. That should be discussed.

‘The evidence the Americans produced was devastating and I don’t think Blatter can survive that. He might have survived this weekend but I don’t think he can survive in the long-term. During his period in charge, the level of corruption has been unacceptable. It’s just frightening. 

Officials count the ballot papers during Friday's presidential election in Switzerland

Officials count the ballot papers during Friday’s presidential election in Switzerland

Jibril Al Rajoub, president of Palestinian Football Association, presents a sword to Blatter after his re-election

Jibril Al Rajoub, president of Palestinian Football Association, presents a sword to Blatter after his re-election

Al Rajoub celebrates with his sword in Zurich on Friday after Blatter was re-elected as FIFA president

Al Rajoub celebrates with his sword in Zurich on Friday after Blatter was re-elected as FIFA president

The Palestinian FA president Al Rajoub uncovers his sword on stage after Blatter's re-election on Friday

The Palestinian FA president Al Rajoub uncovers his sword on stage after Blatter’s re-election on Friday

‘This is not over by any means. To quote the US Attorney General (Loretta Lynch): “This is the beginning of the process, not the end”. The idea that Blatter can reform FIFA is suspect — I would be very surprised if Mr Blatter was still in this job in two years’ time.’

Republic of Ireland chief executive John Delaney said: ‘I don’t think Sepp will survive long. It all seems like a mafia movie if it wasn’t so serious.’

And the noose is tight around Blatter’s neck due to the scope of the criminal inquiries into wholesale FIFA wrongdoing, both in his homeland of Switzerland and, more importantly, by US investigators who have already indicted 18 personnel over £100million worth of bribes and kickbacks.

More FIFA whistleblowers are likely to implicate Blatter, but he will not go quietly, as he demonstrated before the vote. He implied the corruption bombshell was a Western conspiracy because things would have been different if two countries other than Russia and Qatar had been awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

He was referring to England, whose media led the anti-Blatter agenda, and the USA, whose FBI and other investigative and prosecution agencies have exposed FIFA as being rotten to the core.Blatter said: ‘If two other countries had emerged from those envelopes in 2010, we would not have these problems. 

Two voting booths were set up on the stage in Zurich to enable delegates to cast their votes

Two voting booths were set up on the stage in Zurich to enable delegates to cast their votes

FA chairman Greg Dyke steps forward to cast his vote in Friday's presidential election in Zurich

FA chairman Greg Dyke steps forward to cast his vote in Friday’s presidential election in Zurich

The delegate from Austria casts his vote in the election to decide FIFA's next president 

The delegate from Austria casts his vote in the election to decide FIFA’s next president 

Blatter walks to the podium to deliver his final hustings speech beneath the flags of the member nations

Blatter walks to the podium to deliver his final hustings speech beneath the flags of the member nations

Blatter's opponent, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, makes his final hustings speech before the election

Blatter’s opponent, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, makes his final hustings speech before the election

‘It is not good that all this emerged two days before the Congress. I’m not going to say coincidence but I do have a small question mark.’

Blatter made pleas for FIFA to unite to clean itself up, claiming he couldn’t be responsible for every misdemeanour. He said: ‘I am being held accountable for the current storm — OK I will take it. I will accept this responsibility. But no man can do it alone. The ExCo committee is our government. We must share. You are all ambassadors.

‘Let us repair what has blown down. Let us show the world we can run FIFA together. Let the boat go placidly into port.’

Prince Ali had also been full of promises but his speech was poorly delivered and didn’t take the fight to Blatter. He said: ‘FIFA does not exist in a bubble. There could not be a more defining moment in time. We have heard questions as to whether our family is morally bankrupt. Our path must be led by a culture that empowers transparency and accountability. 

Blatter walks past the UEFA president Michel Platini, who had urged his member nations to vote for Prince Ali

Blatter walks past the UEFA president Michel Platini, who had urged his member nations to vote for Prince Ali

David Gill becomes a FIFA vice-president, but he has said he will resign if Blatter is re-elected

David Gill becomes a FIFA vice-president, but he has said he will resign if Blatter is re-elected

Blatter tried to strike a defiant tone after a turbulent week that saw FIFA mired in corruption charges

Blatter tried to strike a defiant tone after a turbulent week that saw FIFA mired in corruption charges

‘I will take full responsibility. I commit to being fair, transparent, open and accessible. We must speak with one voice to change FIFA for the better — we are hungry for the world’s respect. I will fight to honour every promise.’

After withdrawing, Ali said: ‘I would like to thank everyone brave enough to support me.’ They included the four home nations.

This was a third successive day of turbulence inside and outside the Hallenstadion venue during a week of tremors that have shaken FIFA to its very foundations.

A bomb scare in the Congress Hall forced an evacuation while police and sniffer dogs swept the building.

Outside, Palestine supporters demonstrated against Israel remaining in FIFA but inside the Palestinian FA dropped their suspension proposal. Palestine and Israeli chiefs shared an awkward handshake.

One female protestor gained entry to shout ‘red card for FIFA’ before Blatter called for security to remove her. There was another demo by the Congress entrance over the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar.

Blatter was still standing despite the carnage all around him — but the question is, for how long?

Blatter with his girlfriend Linda Barras during the opening ceremony of the FIFA Congress on Thursday

Blatter with his girlfriend Linda Barras during the opening ceremony of the FIFA Congress on Thursday

UEFA president Platini talks to Prince Ali, the FIFA presidential candidate, on Friday morning

UEFA president Platini talks to Prince Ali, the FIFA presidential candidate, on Friday morning

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