MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – The prospect of Sepp Blatter continuing as FIFA president into his early 80s came a step nearer on Monday when he confirmed he was standing for a fifth term of office next year.
Blatter, who will be 79 when the votes are cast next June and who was first elected 16 years ago, confirmed his candidature for another term as president in a recorded interview transmitted to delegates at the Soccerex Global Convention.
“You see a mission is never finished and my mission is not finished,” he said in the 42-minute interview, adding that he would officially tell members of FIFA’s executive committee of his candidature in Zurich at the end of this month.
“I got (from) the last (FIFA) congress in Sao Paulo not only the impression but the support of the majority, a huge majority of national associations asking ‘Please go on, be our president also in future.’
“Now I would make an official declaration definitely in September (to stand).
“I will inform the executive committee. It’s a question of respect also to say then to the football family, ‘Yes I will be ready. I will be a candidate.’”
The news comes as little surprise as Blatter had dropped strong hints he would stand again and if he sees out his potential four-year term he will be 83 by the time of the next planned election in 2019.
In the last 40 years FIFA has had just two presidents. Joao Havelange ruled from 1974 until 1998 when Blatter, his former secretary general, took over.
Before the World Cup started in Brazil in June, five of FIFA’s six confederations – the exception being UEFA – gave Blatter their support to continue as president and it is almost inconceivable that he will not be re-elected when voting takes place at the FIFA Congress in Zurich next June.