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Mon Apr 21 02:37:13 SAST 2014

Beleaguered Blatter splitting German football

Ulrike John, Sapa-dpa | 19 July, 2012 10:320 Comments
Germany v Italy - UEFA EURO 2012 Semi Final
FIFA president Sepp Blatter during the Euro 2012 semifinal between Germany and Italy at National Stadium on June 28, 2012 in Warsaw, Poland
Image by: Michael Steele / Getty Images

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness believes that football’s controlling body FIFA can only start afresh without beleaguered president Sepp Blatter.

He does not believe that the 76-year-old Blatter will be able to stay in office until the end of his fourth term as president in 2015. “Not only that, it is the joke of the year if he thinks that he can stand for presidency again.” 

Hoeness’ statement made on Wednesday at a charity function, is the most outspoken to date since the FIFA executive committee meeting during which Blatter announced the formation of the organisations’ ethics committee and oversaw the passing of FIFA’s code of ethics.

Blatter has been criticised since it became public that he knew of widespread corruption involving former FIFA president Joao Havelange and other FIFA executive members.

He said that he was full of enthusiasm after the executive passed the code and described it as a historic day in FIFA’s reform process.

German FIFA executive member Theo Zwanziger confirmed that Blatter’s position within the organisation had not even been discussed at the meeting.

“It does not look good for him,” Hoeness said. “The measures he introduced are not even worth the paper on which they are written.” 

Hoeness is one of Blatter’s most outspoken and public critics.

However, the Bayern official is not Blatter’s only nemesis, as the head of the German football league Reinhard Rauball phoned the Swiss national last week and called on him to step down.

Zwanziger, on the other hand, has said that Blatter is behind the reform process. “Even if it sounds paradox,” he said, adding that it had often not been that easy to pass resolutions at the executive committee level.

There seems to be no united European front against Blatter and Zwanziger said his reading of the situation is that of many other European representatives.

“After all, I was voted onto the executive by UEFA (Europe’s governing football body.)” 

Blatter has also received support from Swiss media, with Blick featuring a picture of Blatter made up like film star Gary Cooper with the headline: “High Noon on the Zurichberg (FIFA headquarters): Blatter wants to destroy the baddies.” 

FIFA’s anti-corruption expert Mark Pieth has also voiced his support for Blatter.

“At the moment FIFA needs Blatter,” he said, even though neither he, nor any other official has said why Blatter is needed for the process to be completed.

The president of the German football association (DFB) Wolfgang Niersbach is not as outspoken as Rauball and Hoeness, but also not as accommodating as Zwanziger.

“The DFB will not start an initiative that calls for Blatter’s resignation. It is not our place to do so. We (FIFA) are an organization of 209 members and it will be necessary to gauge the feeling amongst all of them,” he said.

Niersbach is releaved that Blatter has clarified earlier statements he made about Germany being awarded the right to host the 2006 World Cup.

It was reported that Blatter had insinuated that bribes had been paid, but Niersbach said Blatter had pointed out that he did not want to say that bribery had taken place.

“I am also very happy that the ethics committee has been tasked to investigate the payments of bribes to FIFA members.”

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Beleaguered Blatter splitting German football

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