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Blatter coy on FIFA presidential re-election bid

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 11, 2014 at 7:45 pm •  Published: June 11, 2014
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SAO PAULO (AP) — While there's hardly any doubt, FIFA President Sepp Blatter won't declare himself a candidate for re-election just yet.

He did reveal on Wednesday, though, how deeply hurt he was by hearing that European countries no longer want him in the role.

Blatter passed up a chance to formally announce his re-election plans for a fifth term bid in 2015 when he addressed his 209 member nations at their annual congress ahead of the World Cup.

What he did show at a later news conference was raw emotions about UEFA officials making a face-to-face demand in a closed-door meeting Tuesday that he step aside next year.

"That was the most disrespectful thing I have experienced in my entire life," Blatter said in German, "on the football pitch and in my home."

FIFA's media chief cut short his boss's response as Blatter seemed ready to unload further on the only football continent that refuses to publicly support the 78-year-old Swiss official's expected candidacy in the election next May.

Blatter's outburst was more surprising after an all-day congress meeting seemed to go entirely to his plan.

Members tossed out proposals on age and term limits for Blatter and others; FIFA cheered the hall by promising $200 million in bonus payment from World Cup profits; and Blatter unveiled a new idea, a review system for team managers to challenge referees' decisions.

The challenge was Blatter's closing remarks after a long day that he was expected to end with a call to support his candidacy.

He did hint at his intentions to run again for the job he's held since 1998.

"I am ready to accompany you in the future," Blatter told delegates, "but it's your decision, congress, if you want to go with me."

"The candidate period is not yet open so no one can be a candidate," Blatter told reporters. "My mission is not yet finished so ask me next year."

The hostile UEFA meeting on Tuesday — the final stop on Blatter's six-visit tour of his continental confederations ahead of the congress — was a rare down note for him.

Senior UEFA officials had urged Blatter to take responsibility for FIFA corruption allegations and negative headlines for football under his leadership. They also objected to Blatter suggesting that racism was a factor in English media reporting that Qatar corruptly won the 2022 World Cup hosting rights.

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