Soccer fans in London voice disappointment after Sepp Blatter is re-elected as president of the world soccer governing body, following a corruption scandal.
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (MAY 29, 2015) (REUTERS) – Soccer fans in London said they were disappointed but not surprised that FIFA president Sepp Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term on Friday (May 29), as a scandal continues to engulf soccer’s world governing body.
At a soccer themed bar in East London, workers and fans played table soccer as they awaited the result from Zurich.
Blatter was re-elected as FIFA president after his opponent Prince Ali bin Al Hussein dropped out after the first round of voting at FIFA’s congress. Blatter hadn’t reached the threshold of votes needed to become president during the first round. Prince Ali withdrew his candidacy before the second vote could take place.
Many Londoners were unhappy with the result and blamed Blatter and FIFA’s executive committee for England’s failed 2018 World Cup bid.
24 year-old James Osborne, who works in sales, said that big questions need to be asked within FIFA.
“We need to make football as transparent as possible and make it as enjoyable as possible for the viewers and make sure it is a fair platform. At the moment obviously with Russia and Qatar, obviously we have expected that it was corrupt for so long and it’s finally come to the public’s attention that there have been arrests and it is corrupt,” he said.
Media Analyst, 29-year-old Hong Le, said that he was disappointed by the way FIFA’s members voted.
“It seems like he had all the support of the developing nations and it seems that’s where the corruption was so widespread, so it wasn’t really surprising,” he said.
Alex Champion, a 24-year-old who was playing table soccer with his friends, criticised soccer’s governing body for a lack of accountability.
“A government wouldn’t get away with it. If the leader of a political party found out that people below him were all corrupt, they wouldn’t get away with it, there would be public uproar. They need a change,” he said.
Nine soccer officials and five sports media and promotions executives have been charged by U.S. prosecutors with corruption, which authorities say involve more than $150 million in bribes.
Swiss authorities also announced a criminal investigation into the awarding of the next two World Cup tournaments, which are being hosted in Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.
Both countries deny any suggestion of wrongdoing over their bids to host one of the world’s top sporting events, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of meddling in an effort to prevent the re-election of Blatter.
Adding to the pressure on FIFA and Blatter, there are growing concerns from major sponsors, many of whom have solidly backed the organisation despite nearly 20 years of bribery and corruption allegations.