Blatter wins fifth FIFA term as challenger concedes

ZURICH, Switzerland – Sepp Blatter was re-elected president of FIFA for a fifth term on Friday after the only other candidate conceded defeat after a first round of voting in an election overshadowed by allegations of corruption in world soccer.

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FIFA President Sebb Blatter with Prince Ali bin-al-Hussein

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Blatter’s victory came despite demands that he quit in the face of a major bribery scandal being investigated by U.S., Swiss and other law enforcement agencies that plunged the world soccer body into the worst crisis in its 111-year history.

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Neither Blatter nor Jordanian challenger Prince Ali bin Al Hussein got the necessary two thirds of the vote in the first round, with Blatter on 133 and Prince Ali on 73. Prince Ali later conceded.

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In a victory speech, Blatter declared: “Let’s go FIFA, let’s go FIFA,” to a standing ovation.

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Speaking just before the vote, Blatter, who joined FIFA in 1975, said he felt that he had only been with the organization for a short time and wanted to stay longer.

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“What is time anyway. I find that the time I have spent at FIFA is very short,” he said. “The more one ages the more time flies by quickly. I am with you, and I would like to stay with you,” he said to applause.

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Prince Ali, in his pitch for votes, had pledged an open, more democratic FIFA, saying: “We have heard in recent days, voices which described our FIFA as an avaricious body which feeds on the game that the world loves.

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“There are no easy answers. And no blame that can be cast that will wash away the stain that marks us all,” he said.

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While Asian, African and Latin American states had been expected to rally around Blatter, Europe, which accounts for all but three of the countries that have ever made it to a World Cup’s final match, had been keen for him to step aside.

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On a visit to Berlin, British Prime Minister David Cameron told Blatter to go “the sooner the better”. Chancellor Angela Merkel said the dirty side of soccer must be cleaned up.

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CORRUPTION

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U.S. authorities have accused top FIFA figures and sports executives of corruption, while Switzerland is investigating the award of the next World Cup finals to Russia and Qatar.

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