Blatter denies Fifa crisis
An indignant Sepp Blatter denied that football is in crisis despite the bribery accusations which are engulfing Fifa.
By Peter Fraser - Follow me on Twitter @SkySportsPeteF
Last Updated: 31/05/11 8:28am
An indignant Sepp Blatter has denied that football is in crisis despite the bribery accusations which are engulfing Fifa.
Football's world governing body has been surrounded in murky controversy over the past month following a succession of new accusations and counter-allegations regarding improper conduct.
A Fifa ethics committee has suspended Asian confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam and Fifa vice-president Jack Warner over claims that they have been attempting to buy votes ahead of Wednesday's presidency elections.
Blatter was himself called to face the ethics committee after Warner suggested that the president turned a blind eye to the alleged bribery, but he was cleared and is now set for re-election after his only rival, Bin Hammam, withdrew from contention.
Both Bin Hammam and Warner have hit back in furious style at their suspensions, with the latter revealing an email from Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke, which implied that the former had 'bought' the right for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.
A backtracking Valcke has since attempted to clarify the email, but the arguments and mudslinging have further tarnished Fifa's battered reputation and created additional doubts about Blatter, who is set for a fourth term as president.
However, following a meeting of Fifa's executive committee in Zurich on Monday, Blatter told a press conference broadcast live on Sky Sports News: "Crisis, what is a crisis? Football is not in a crisis.
"Football is in some difficulties and they will be solved inside our family."
Blatter also defiantly rejected claims by former Football Association chairman Lord Triesman and the Sunday Times that the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were rigged.
Speaking at the bizarre press conference, where he dodged questions about Warner, Blatter said Fifa had received reports from both the FA and the newspaper, but found there were no grounds for further investigations.
The claims centred around four members of Fifa's executive committee, Warner, Nicolas Leoz, Ricardo Teixeira and Worawi Makudi, who were reported to have accepted payments in return for their votes in the bidding process.
However, Blatter appeared to dismiss both reports out of hand, saying simply that there were 'no elements' to warrant proceedings against any Fifa members.
"We can confirm there are no elements in this report which would even report any proceedings but for the sake of transparency we will agree a comprehensive summary of this report," he said.
But Blatter did admit "great damage" had been done to the organisation's reputation by separate bribery allegations against Bin Hammam and Warner.
The 75-year-old refused to comment on the counter-claim by Warner, which is based on Valcke's email.
There have been suggestions that the vote for the 2022 World Cup should be held again after Qatar's controversial success, but Blatter rejected this idea.
"There is no issue for the World Cup in 2022," said the Swiss. "I believe that the decision taken for the World Cup in 2022 was done exactly in the same pattern and in the same way as the 2018 tournament."