ZURICH: FIFA president Sepp Blatter has formally confirmed he will stand for a fifth term next year but he has no intention in taking part in a televised debate with any rivals writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

In May 2011, on being elected for a fourth mandate, Blatter had indicated this would be his last term. However he retreated steadily from that declaration, dropping ever more clear hints that intended to continue his ‘mission.’

Today the 78-year-old Swiss formally informed the world federation’s executive committee that he would “accept the demands and pleas of different federations and confederations to serve FIFA – if they are happy with me – on May 29 next year here in Zurich.”

“A mission is never finished and now you can see that we are not at the end of our reforms since problems are still pending with the ethics committee.

“I have been contacted and asked, by acclamation, but five of the six confederations [all bar Europe] to ‘please stay as our president’ because they said they had no other candidate. So I declared today that I am at their disposal.

‘Sport not politics’

“FIFA is a serving company for our society and if, on May 29, I am still in good [health] – we are not masters of our destiny – and they still want me then I want to go on serving.”

Not debating on television, however, as initial declared candidate Jerome Champagne had demanded.

Blatter explained: “We dont know how many candidates we will have after [the nomination deadline on] January 29 and I don’t know how you can organise a public discussion.

“We are not in politics, we are in sport and shall not imitate what is done there. I tried to do it when I stood in 1998 [against Lennart Johansson] and they refused to speak with me. So, I don’t think [we’l have] a public debate.”

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