ZURICH: FIFA president Sepp Blatter has called on his critics to take him on for FIFA’s presidency in next year’s elections, but said he was not officially announcing himself as a candidate.

Speaking at his personal and traditional local sports weekend he challenged rivals to take the election risk, whilst also stating that to be criticised as president of FIFA comes with the job.

“If I were not criticised, I would not have any value,” said Blatter. “People who say I should not be a candidate or I should not get elected, they can take the risk to be in an election. I took the risk in 1998.”

Blatter’s advice for those thinking of standing against him for election was: “If you never take the risk, you will never have a chance.” But he added: “If you take the risk you also have the chance to lose.

“Now I say, if (other people) want to take the risk then take the risk. Don’t speak, go out and fight, then you will see. That is good. I am happy to fight. I am a fighter.”

Blatter has yet to announce his official candidacy for a fifth term as FIFA president.

He said: “I will not announce for the time being that I am a candidate, I am not in a hurry, I have until the end of January next year.”

The only declared candidate thus far is former FIFA deputy general secretary Jerome Champagne.