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Sepp Blatter rejects calls to resign as FIFA president

Sepp Blatter has rejected demands to resign as FIFA head after his officials were accused of corruption. Blatter will also stand for reelection, potentially extending his term by 4 years in the soccer federation.

Sepp Blatter on Thursday refused to resign from his position as FIFA president, insisting he could restore trust in his organization despite a scandal in which several sports officials were accused of corruption.

"We, or I, cannot monitor everyone all of the time," Blatter said in his first comments after the crisis erupted. "We cannot allow the reputation of football and FIFA to be dragged through the mud any longer… It has to stop here and now," he added.

Blatter was addressing delegates at the soccer federation's two-day congress. "The events of yesterday have cast a long shadow over football… There can be no place for corruption of any kind," he said.

Blatter's refusal to back down comes despite European football organization UEFA's head Michel Platini requesting that the FIFA chief leave his position. "Enough is enough… People no longer want him anymore and I don't want him anymore either," Platini said.

In a personal meeting with Blatter,

Platini asked the FIFA head to leave his position

because Blatter was "giving FIFA a terrible image."

Blatter to contest for president

Zürich FIFA Kongress Eröffnung Rede Sepp Blatter

The opening of the FIFA two-day congress was a subdued affair

The FIFA chief will also go ahead with his plans to stand for reelection on Friday, a move which would likely restore him as the organization's head for another five years.

Blatter is expected to win Friday's polls against Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, but UEFA is desperately trying to lobby for Prince al-Hussein. Platini said 45 or 46 of his group's members would vote for the Jordanian.

French Foreign minister Laurent Fabius also said the vote should be delayed in the light of corruption

charges against 14 soccer officials

by US and Swiss authorities. Seven of the world's most prominent football officials face extradition on corruption charges.

Swiss authorities were also investigating the awarding of the world cups 2018 to Russia and 2022 to Qatar. According to US investigators, nine football officials and five sports media and promotions executives faced corruption and bribery charges involving more than $150 million (137 million euros).

However, Blatter still had support from African and Asian nations and from Moscow, with President Vladimir Putin accusing the United States of "illegally" prosecuting people and attempting to take the world cup away from Russia.

mg/bw (AFP, Reuters)

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