Sepp Blatter faces harshest critics at UEFA Congress
FIFA president Sepp Blatter will come face to face with some of his harshest critics on Tuesday, most of whom will be voting to remove him from office when the Swiss stands for re-election in May.
Vienna: FIFA president Sepp Blatter will come face to face with some of his harshest critics on Tuesday, most of whom will be voting to remove him from office when the Swiss stands for re-election in May.
The 79-year-old is to address the 54-member nations of UEFA at their annual Congress knowing most of the delegates are backing the other three candidates: Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, Dutchman Michael van Praag and Luis Figo of Portugal.
Blatter will make a speech at the start of Congress in his role as FIFA chief but has rejected an offer to address delegates as a presidential hopeful.
He said he had no need to campaign as his 40-year record at soccer`s governing body spoke for itself.
Blatter may be right because, despite his organisation facing one crisis or another, he is the overwhelming favourite to win a fifth term of office in the election at the FIFA Congress in Zurich on May 29.
But he will be under no illusions when he faces his fellow Europeans on Tuesday that not all of them believe he is fit to carry on as president.
"It will be very bad indeed if he continues," Van Praag told reporters on Monday. "I believe that if the present president of FIFA goes on we will keep on having these things again and again and again.
"I`m of the opinion Mr Blatter is responsible for this and he will never be accepted by anyone in the world as the person to turn FIFA around," added the 67-year-old chairman of the Dutch FA.
Although attention is to focus on Blatter at the start of Congress, UEFA will also be re-electing Michel Platini as president for a third term.
The former France international was once an ally of the FIFA leader but the pair have drifted apart and Platini is now endorsing Blatter`s opponents.
Among other elections on Tuesday is one for three UEFA representatives on FIFA`s executive committee that will almost certainly see two critics of Blatter voted on to the most powerful group in world football.
German FA chairman Wolfgang Niersbach will be elected unopposed while England`s David Gill is expected to win a seat reserved for the British vice-presidency in a two-way battle against Trefor Lloyd Hughes of Wales.
Incumbent Angel Maria Villar Llona of Spain will also be re-elected unopposed.