ZURICH, May 28- FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Thursday that the scandal-tainted football body faces “more bad news” and that officials accused of corruption had brought shame and humiliation on the organisation.
Blatter did not raise the many calls made for him to resign or Friday’s election, as he opened FIFA’s annual congress one day after seven top football officials were arrested as part of a US corruption inquiry.
“The next few months will not be easy for FIFA. I am sure more bad news will follow but it is necessary to begin to restore trust,” Blatter told the congress.
“We cannot allow the reputation of football and FIFA to be dragged through the mud any longer. It has to stop here,” he added.
Blatter called the scandals “unprecedented” and said the “actions of individuals bring shame and humiliation on football and demand action and change from us all.”
“The events of yesterday have cast a long shadow over football and over this week’s congress.”
The football president said FIFA cannot be an “exception” to rules on corruption and added “we will cooperate with all authorities to make sure that anyone involved in wrongdoing — from top to bottom — will be discovered and punished.”
Despite the storm, Blatter is favourite to win a fifth term in a vote at the congress on Friday. His only challenger is Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan, a FIFA vice president, who has called for widespread reforms.
KEY POINTS OF BLATTER SPEECH
These are unprecedented and difficult times for FIFA.
The events of yesterday have cast a long shadow over football and over this week’s congress.
Actions of individuals bring shame and humiliation on football and demand action and change from us all.
We cannot allow the reputation of football and FIFA to be dragged through the mud any longer — it has to stop here and now.
— I know many people hold me ultimately responsible for actions and reputation of the global football community, whether it’s a decision for the hosting of a World Cup or a corruption scandal.
But I cannot monitor everyone all of the time.
— If people want to do wrong, they will also try to hide it, but it must ultimately fall to me to bear the responsibility for the reputation and well-being of our organisation and to ultimately find a way to move forward and fix things.
— I will not allow the actions of a few to destroy the hard work of those in football.
We will co-operate to make sure anyone who is involved in wrongdoing, from top to bottom, will be discovered and punished.
There can be no place for corruption.
— The next few months will not be easy for FIFA and I am sure more bad news will follow, but it is necessary to begin to restore the trust in our organisation.
Let this be the turning point.