FIFA boss Blatter wants new term
ZURICH - Agence France-Presse
A picture taken on March 21, 2014 shows FIFA president Sepp Blatter talking during a press conference in Zurich. AFP PhotoFIFA president Sepp Blatter on Friday strengthened expectations that he will soon announce his bid for a fifth term as the head of global football.
"I want to do this, because things aren't over yet. My mandate is running out, but my mission is not finished," the 78-year-old was quoted as saying by the Swiss tabloid Blick.
Blatter is widely expected to announce his formal candidacy at the FIFA Congress, before the World Cup, in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo.
In response to the new reports, FIFA stressed that Blatter's plan was still to ask the 209 national associations in world body at the congress whether they want him to run again.
The election will be held in 2015.
Blick said Blatter's comments came in response to questions about his future during a debate it organised in Zurich.
Blatter has been FIFA's president since 1998. He joined football's governing body in 1975 and was its secretary general before succeeding Brazilian Joao Havelange as president.
Blatter has previously been guarded about his plans for a new term.
In February, he told Swiss public broadcaster RTS that he "wouldn't say no" to a new mandate.
"If I'm in good health, and I currently am, I don't see why I should stop work, and especially the job of consolidating FIFA," he said then.
The only candidate to have entered the race formally so far is Frenchman Jerome Champagne, an ex-diplomat and former secretary general of FIFA, who left the organisation in 2010.
Champagne, 55, has said that if his former boss Blatter enters the race, he will pull out.
Michel Platini, head of European governing body UEFA, who has crossed swords with Blatter over his running of FIFA, is another potential candidate.
The 58-year-old French football legend said recently that he was the only only person who can beat Blatter.
But Platini, in charge of UEFA since 2007, has still not said whether he will run in the election.
Platini has said he will announce his decision in the second half of the year after seeing any reaction to Blatter's decision.
During the Blick debate, Blatter played down concerns about preparations for the World Cup in Brazil which runs from June 12 to July 13.
The Brazilian organisers have faced repeated criticism, and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke this week said that the governing body had "been through hell" over the football showcase.
There have been nerve-wracking delays to the completion of stadiums, which forced FIFA to extend its deadline to hand over facilities, and concerns over social protest.
But Blatter insisted that he took things in his stride.
"This is my tenth World Cup. My first was in 1978. Brazil is going to be something huge, really outstanding," he said.
He reminded his audience that fears had reached fever pitch ahead of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, notably over its reputation as a crime hotspot
"Four years ago, ahead of South Africa, people were saying how dangerous it would be at the World Cup. And nothing happened!" Blatter said.
"Nothing is 100 percent ready before any World Cup," he added.