Sepp Blatter is running for a 5th term as FIFA’s president, and he will have the backing of one of soccer’s greats, Brazilian legend Pele.
Blatter’s presidency has been under scrutiny, notably after lawyer Michael Garcia launched a probe into Russia and Qatar’s corrupt bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The saga begun when American lawyer Michael Garcia urged FIFA to publish his report on the incident. Amid urging from FA chairman Greg Dyke, Blatter rejected the plea to have the full report released, and he cited that it would break FIFA rules and Swiss law.
[RELATED: Dyke thinks Blatter should step down]
Then, FIFA judge Hans-Joachim Eckert released related findings–a “redacted” version of Garcia’s report–in a 42-page piece, which angered the lawyer because his two-year investigation had been reduced and reportedly misrepresented.
Garcia resigned and Blatter said the case was closed, with Russia and Qatar cleared from the initial allegations.
As for the upcoming election, Blatter will face competition from three other men: FIFA vice-president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, Dutch FA president Michael van Praag and former Portugal international Luis Figo, one of Pele’s friends.
Pele stated his intent to back Blatter and said growth of soccer around the world is making administration an increasingly arduous task for FIFA.
”I am going to be clear, I will support Sepp Blatter because Blatter has more experience, he stayed there a long time,” he said to The Associated Press on Friday. ”Of course in life you must have some changes, but I will support Blatter, I think he is still has opportunity to do nice administration.”
”People should pay attention to one thing, for some years it was two or three countries (dominating football)…Now you have growth … Asia, Africa. (It’s) becoming more difficult to administrate FIFA now, that is the problem.”
The election itself will occur on May 29 in Zurich, and although Blatter said he would not run again if re-elected in 2011, it appeared the 79-year-old has reversed his words.