KEIR RADNEDGE in MANCHESTER: Sepp Blatter has taken another inexorable step towards the certainty that he will declare his formal candidacy for a further spell as president of FIFA.

The 78-year-old Swiss will tell his executive committee later this month that he will stand for a fifth term at the world federation’s congress in Zurich in May next year.

Blatter set out that timescale in a recorded address to open the Soccerex Global Covention today in Manchester.

He said: “A mission is never finished and my mission is not finished. I have told this to FIFA Congress and the congresses of the confederations in Sao Paulo [in June] and then I got not only the impression of, but the support of, the huge majority of national associations asking me: ‘Please go on to be our president in future.’

“Now I will make an official declaration in September when we have our next executive committe meeting. This is a matter of respect that I should inform the executive committee that I will be ready, I will be a candidate.

“Now we have special regulations and you have to fulfil a lot of conditions but I will announce it on 23 and 24 September this year.”

Blatter was not surprised by Michel Platini’s confirmation two weeks ago that he would not contest the FIFA presidency and stay with European federation UEFA.

He said: “I was not surprised because in private conversations I have had with Michel Platini before during and after the World Cup he has confirmed he would not be a candidate … but that there would be someone who would be a contender.

“For me it was not a surprise because he told me. And I think he is a reliable man when he is not only speaking colleague to colleague but friend to friend even if we are not always at the same idea in football by saying he would not stand.”

Blatter concluded his analysis by defining his famous ‘mission’ as president.

He said: “What I would like to see is football playing, in society, a more important social, cultural part in education and [also bringing] good elements such as discipline, fair play and respect into our society directly, into the families, at school level, in the business and – why not? – in politics.

“And this, then, would be the end of my mission.”

But not, as he confirmed, until at least 2019.

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