ZURICH: Sepp Blatter has insisted that he does not intend to be a candidate for the FIFA presidential election being staged next February 26 writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The 79-year-old joined the world football federation in 1975 and worked his way up via roles as development officer and general secretary to become president in 1998.

His devotion to the role led to him reversing a promise, made in 2011, to to step down at this year’s congress. He was then re-elected for a fifth term in Zurich on May 27 only to present his intended resignation four days later.

Subsequently, various mischievous comments have sparked speculation that Blatter would not step down after all.

He sought to put to rest those concerns after today’s special meeting of the executive committee which had been summoned to decide the route forward.

Explaining his decision early last month to step down Blatter said: “There was pressure coming from different groups, attacking FIFA, [so] I had to do something for FIFA, but not for me. My mission now is to defend the institution FIFA. I can defend myself. I don’t need help. But FIFA [does].”

Word precision

He then underlined his own determination to stay out of the campaigning.

Blatter said: “I will not be a candidate for the election in 2016. I have put my mandate at [congress’s] disposal and there will be elections for a new president. Not only a president but a new president. I cannot be a new president because I am an old president.”

He was, however, was “very keen” to know the identity of the next president.

Asked about reports that European federation president Michel Platini enjoyed widespread support among some other confederations, he said: “I wish all the candidates best success and also to Michel Platini.”

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