A press conference was held this Saturday at the Home of FIFA in Zurich, following Friday’s FIFA Congress, which decided on the re-election of Joseph S. Blatter for a fifth term in office as FIFA President, and only minutes after an extraordinary Executive Committee meeting – the first with the new composition.
Here’s a summary of what FIFA President Blatter had to say:
*The decisions concerning the next FIFA World Cups *“We decided that the slots per confederations for 2018 and 2022 wouldn’t change. We will stick to 32 teams: the same number and the same distribution from the last FIFA World Cups. Furthermore, with respect to the World Cup 2026, we confirmed that in accordance with the FIFA Statutes – art. 80, par. 4 stipulates that “the right to host the event shall not be awarded to members of the same Confederation for two consecutive editions of the FIFA World Cup™” – member associations from the Asian Football Confederation would not be able to bid. All others will be able to present bids.”
The unity of the Executive Committee
“What I said in my statements yesterday is the following: I will take responsibility for the storm, but I will share it with the Executive Committee that met today. Because it’s the government who has to take this responsibility. And this government is elected by the Confederations. However, I will shoulder this responsibility: I said this in the Congress and I say it again here.
“The Executive Committee has reaffirmed its unity and solidarity going forward. We will work with our institutions, our bodies – the Ethics Committee, but also the Disciplinary Committee, Associations Committee and Audit and Compliance Committee. That way we will avoid similar future situations: where there are surprises that catch us on the back foot.
“Of course I’m relieved: for being re-elected and secondly because this morning there was a good atmosphere in the Executive Committee and that guaranteed to me I’m not alone in this. We’re in football: those who lose can win tomorrow. I’m the president of all, also of those who didn’t vote for me.”
The situation between Israel and Palestine
“For the 3rd time consecutively at a FIFA Congress the situation between two federations, Israel and Palestine, has emerged. Yesterday we witnessed how Palestine acted with a big heart. They were convinced that they could win a vote to suspend the other federation, but that didn’t happen: they amended their own proposal and removed it. This is an exceptional gesture that deserves to be commended, and I hope that this gesture will serve as a happy omen in the region between the two federations, but also between the two countries. Maybe football can be the precursor towards a solution that everybody wants. The two federations are independent, but they have proved that they can work together.”
The idea of an office for professional football
“I also said yesterday that in the future FIFA would set up a department, an office for professional football. We have a memorandum of understanding with FIFPro and the clubs - and I think we can also include the leagues. This is something which I think was welcomed by all the interested parties, because professional football plays an important role. Obviously there are representatives in different FIFA committees but it's far better to have an entity that addresses them directly.”
*The events in the week leading up to the 65th FIFA Congress and their consequences *“Everyone is responsible for their own ethical and moral behaviour. I, as FIFA President, cannot speak on behalf of others. Let me repeat what I said before, the members of the Executive Committee are not elected by the same body as I. I am elected by a Congress, they are elected by confederations. We wanted to introduce a better moral control of the members but in this reform process it was then downgraded upon the request of UEFA, meaning that every confederation is now responsible for the moral and ethical behaviour of its members.
“We have contacted the partners, last week. We have exchanged letters and we will start now to bring back the reputation of FIFA. We will contact our partners and we will bring them all back in the right situation. We have already planned a personal visit.”