Sepp Blatter lays out election strategy

  • December 29, 2010

ZURICH -- FIFA president Sepp Blatter set out a globe-trotting strategy on Wednesday to meet voters before he stands for re-election in June.

In a year-ending message, Blatter said he would attend each congress of soccer's six continental confederations ahead of FIFA's own annual gathering of 208 nations, where he will ask them for a fourth four-year term in office.

"I look forward to meeting the representatives of the member associations there in person, addressing their concerns and, together, setting a strategic course for the future," Blatter wrote in an open letter published on FIFA's website.

Blatter said it was "time to focus our attention and efforts on the future" after events this year showed "the universal power of our sport."

The 2010 World Cup in South Africa was the first played on the African continent, and this month FIFA awarded hosting rights for the 2018 tournament to Russia and the 2022 finals to Qatar -- taking soccer's marquee event to Eastern Europe and the Middle East for the first time.

"At FIFA, we will therefore continue to pursue our goal of constantly developing football all over the world," Blatter said, adding that leadership was a key focus in 2011. "I hope that you will support me in my mission."

Blatter is first scheduled to meet his voters on Jan. 6, when the 46-nation Asian Football Confederation meets in Doha, Qatar.

The Oceania body of 11 countries then meets Jan. 15 in Pago Pago, American Samoa.

The 52-member African confederation has its assembly Feb. 23 in Khartoum, Sudan.

UEFA, the European body, meets March 22 in Paris, and the football authorities of South America (CONMEBOL) and Central and North America (CONCACAF) are scheduled to meet before the end of May.

Blatter is scheduled to stand for re-election June 1 at FIFA's congress in Zurich.

Challengers must be nominated by a FIFA member nation at least two months before the vote.

No candidate has openly declared his intent to run, although FIFA executive committee members Chung Mong-Joon of South Korea and Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar are seen as having leadership ambitions. Chung first must defend his FIFA vice presidential seat in Doha next week against a challenge from Prince Ali of Jordan.

Blatter was elected FIFA president in 1998 and won a fierce re-election fight at the 2002 congress against African confederation leader Issa Hayatou of Cameroon. He won his third term unopposed in 2007.

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