FIFA President Sepp Blatter, 79, was re-elected Friday to a fifth term as head of the international soccer federation that controls the annual World Cup, even as controversy swirled around him and FIFA.
Support for Blatter came from a wide majority in the 209-member organization despite the arrest of seven top federation officials in Switzerland on Wednesday on charges of racketeering and corruption. The U.S. Justice Department indicted a total of 14 executives and marketing officials from the world body.
“I’m not perfect. Nobody is perfect. But we will do a good job together,” Blatter told members in his victory speech following the vote. “I take the responsibility to bring FIFA where it should be… At the end of my term [this time] I will give up FIFA in a strong position,” he said.
Calls for him to resign were issued by a number of world leaders, including UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
While the organization’s top echelon struggled with the allegations, Israel fought off a sportsfare attempt by the Palestinian delegation to expel its members from the world body. At the very last moment before a scheduled vote on the issue, Palestinian soccer league head and convicted terrorist Jibril Rajoub instead submitted an amendment cancelling the proposal.