KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: Sepp Blatter, whatever opinions in the west, still enjoys enormous support throughout the rest of the FIFA world for his work as president of the world federation.
A vote of approval for him was even raised today during a medical conference organised by FIFA in Zurich ahead of this week’s congress at which the 79-year-old Swiss is seeking re-election for a fifth term.
Manuel Nascimento Lopes, president of the Guinea-Bissau federation, stood up during the conference to hail Blatter’s work in general and, in particular, in the field of sports health.
Nascimento Lopes said: “We have to congratulate this gentleman for his contribitoon on this issue. I stand here to urge everyone inside this room to salute and congratulate presdent Blatter and his team who have worked on this health issue. Let’s applaud Mr Blatter for this job.”
The room did offer a solid burst of supporting applause.
Earlier Nascimento Lopes had insisted that Blatter would have full support from all of Africa and that the presidential election should go ahead as planned at FIFA Congress tomorrow.
He said: “People are always trying to knock Blatter. Africa will vote for Mr Blatter and I will follow that. I agree at some point there has to be change but let Blatter finish his mandate and see what he does.
“It’s not all about the major European football countries. If you point three fingers at someone, there’s is always one you point at yourself. Tomorrow we are going to vote for Blatter. How do we know anyone else would be any better?
“I am one of the most anti-corruption people you could meet. No-one can bribe me. Blatter had a team and if the team is not perfect, why should the leadership suffer? Secondly this has nothing to do with Africa.”
UEFA’s bid to have the vote postponed, he said, was “impossible. We will vote and Blatter will win. But I cant talk about Uefa. The only issue is that we in Africa support Blatter as a collective.”