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Blatter urged to stand down as FIFA president

Thursday, June 12, 2014

SAO PAULO, June 10 AFP - Top European football officials have publicly called on Sepp Blatter to end his reign as FIFA president amid accusations of corruption against Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid.

Michael van Praag, head of the Dutch football association, said Blatter should quit when his term ends next year. Blatter, 78, officially opened FIFA's annual congress at a gala evening in Sao Paulo without mentioning the attacks or corruption controversy.

"Tonight we are in a festive mood and all of what's linked with FIFA and is so important nowadays, we will discuss it tomorrow," Blatter said.

The corruption allegations and criticism of Blatter have threatened to further taint the opening of the latest World Cup in Sao Paulo. Brazil struggling with protests over the cost of the event.

Some federations are angry because Blatter said in 2011 when he secured his latest term that it would be his last.

"Mr Blatter, this is nothing personal but if you look at FIFA's reputation over the last seven or eight years, it is being linked to all kinds of corruption and all kinds of old boys' networks things," Van Praag said he had told Blatter.

"FIFA has an executive president and you are not making things easy for yourself and I do not think you are the man for the job any longer."

Blatter replied that he would not resign straight away, according to the official.

Blatter has been FIFA's president since 1998. African football officials were among those said to have accepted Qatar's money, according to the Sunday Times. CAF members gave Blatter a rousing reception and slammed the allegations in a statement.

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