UEFA back Blatter for FIFA re-election

by PAA on May 07, 2011

0 comments | | print

UEFA toon Friday threw their support behind Sepp Blatter to be re-elected as FIFA president.

All members of UEFA's executive committee including England's Geoff Thompson, have signed a letter backing Blatter and urging "all UEFA member associations to do likewise".

The move is a strong indication UEFA president Michel Platini aims to stand in 2015 when Blatter has said he will step down if re-elected.

Meanwhile, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all also expected to support Blatter in next month's election, leaving the Football Association potentially isolated.

Although the home associations are yet to make formal decisions about the candidates, well-placed sources say the Football Association of Wales and Scottish FA are both set to back Blatter rather than his challenger Mohamed Bin Hammam.

The Irish FA will make a decision just before the June 1 election and say they are keeping an open mind, but it is believed they are also leaning towards the 75-year-old Blatter, who looks to be leading the race.

The FA's board meets on May 19 to decide their strategy with a number of members still seething with Blatter over England's failed 2018 World Cup bid.

Even those close to Blatter believe the best they can hope for is for the FA to decide to abstain from the vote.

The FA's stance has been questioned by other senior figures in the home associations, who believe Blatter, and Platini, provide the best protection for their separate status in FIFA.

One told Press Association Sport: "We have guarantees from Sepp Blatter that our privileges will be maintained and Platini will safeguard us in the same way. I cannot understand England's stance."

Blatter has also landed the crucial vote of Russia, which has a powerful influence in eastern Europe.

Russian Football Union (RFU) president Vitaly Mutko said: "We will support Joseph Blatter at the FIFA presidential election in June. We appreciate everything Blatter has done for world and Russian football."

That is hardly surprising given that Blatter helped deliver the 2018 World Cup to Russia, now both he and Bin Hammam view Asia and Africa as the battlefield that could decide the contest.