World football's governing body

Blatter "to stand down in 2015"

March 22, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

FIFA president Sepp Blatter says his next term will be his last if he is re-elected as head of world football's governing body in June.

Sepp Blatter
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Blatter is running for his fourth term but is facing the challenge of Qatar's Mohamed bin Hammam in the election to be held in Zurich, Switzerland.

Speaking at UEFA's Congress in Paris on Tuesday the 75-year-old Swiss said that if he wins he will definitely stand down in 2015.

Blatter said: "You know very well that I am a candidate for the next four years as FIFA president but these will be the last four years for which I stand as a candidate.

"Together we have the task of bringing together the adventure we have started. We want to ensure a better future for our youth.''

Blatter's announcement appears to be a direct appeal to the 53 European countries to support him and then he will make way for UEFA president Michel Platini in 2015.

Bin Hammam revealed on Monday he would be interested in cutting a deal with Platini to oust Blatter - but the Qatari would certainly want eight years in office.

Blatter told the Congress that FIFA would now have "zero tolerance'' for corruption - two FIFA executive committee members were banned last year after asking for money in return for votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting rights.

He said: "We can see cases of corruption that really hurt the whole football family and for this reason at the FIFA Congress we will show we will have zero tolerance.

"We will have zero tolerance on the pitch, more education, more respect towards the referees. There will be zero tolerance beyond the pitch - we have the instruments for that, the disciplinary committee, the ethics committee, and it's time to act. We will do whatever is necessary.''

Blatter also praised Platini's plan of having two extra assistant referees behind each goalline, which is now being trialled in European club competition and international football.

He added: "I'm happy to commend UEFA for its revolutionary view of refereeing and having five or even six officials on or near the pitch, not just three or four - this is a compliment.''