Blatter Enjoys Strong Support, Likely to Be Reelected as FIFA President

© AP Photo / Michael ProbstFIFA President Sepp Blatter
FIFA President Sepp Blatter - Sputnik International
FIFA presidential elections have been scheduled to take place Friday in Zurich, on the second day of the two-day long FIFA 65th Congress.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and FIFA President Joseph Blatter - Sputnik International
US Trying to Block Reelection of Blatter as FIFA President - Putin
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Despite the current corruption scandal in FIFA, its incumbent president Joseph Blatter enjoys vast support in football organizations worldwide and is likely to be reelected for the fifth term, sports experts told Sputnik Thursday.

On Wednesday, US Justice Department indicted several FIFA high-ranking officials on corruption charges prompting numerous calls for the elections to be postponed. On the same day, Switzerland opened an investigation into alleged misdemeanors in selecting Russia and Qatar to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 and 2022.

"The current president [of FIFA] is likely to stand. He still has more supporters than opponents in football organizations," Mostafa Shoughi, the head of Sports Department of the Iranian Hamshahri newspaper said, adding that Iran’s Football Federation (FFIRI) will support Blatter’s candidacy.

Shoughi added that three weeks ago he attended the elections of the Asian Football Confederation president in Bahrain and had a chance to compare the positions of football officials from around the Asian continent regarding the upcoming FIFA elections.

"The vast majority of the continent’s countries support the Swiss [candidate]. Even though his only rival is the representative of our confederation — Prince Ali bin Hussein of Jordan. Still, Joseph Blatter did a lot for the development of this sport in the leading football countries of the region and gave a green light to mass football in the Asian countries that were not into football at all until recently," Shoughi said.

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Martina Neuwirth, an expert with the Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation (VIDC), which oversees the FairPlay grass-roots initiative against discrimination in football, also believes that Blatter will be reelected thanks to the great support he has within the association.

Neuwirth said that what bothered her in this situation was the questionable role of the United States in the current FIFA investigation.

"FIFA is an organization that is based in Switzerland and therefore has to act on the basis of Swiss law… I really don’t know why Switzerland is not taking the lead on that," Neuwirth said, adding, however, that she does not think that the Wednesday arrests will have any impact on the FIFA presidential elections.

According to Mostafa Shoughi, the current corruption scandal could be a direct consequence of the Zurich 2010 voting that resulted in Russia and Qatar winning the bid to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup competitions.

"I do not rule out that the current corruption scandal is an attempt of those who had lost to prove themselves right and overthrow Blatter, who, right after that elections, expressed hope that Russia would hold the best world championship in history," Shoughi said.

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According to Shoughi there can be no doubts that Russia won its right to host the 2018 World Cup fairly.

"The vast majority of FIFA Executive Committee members from all the confederations voted for Russia," he noted.

In December 2010, Russia and Qatar were selected to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups respectively. England, the United States, Australia and Japan were among the countries competing for hosting rights that year.

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