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Sepp Blatter: 'There is no place for corruption of any kind in football'

UEFA leaders want to postpone the Fifa elections for at least six months amid the current chaos.

Updated 3.15pm

FIFA PRESIDENT SEPP Blatter has made a bold appearance at the organisation’s conference today, making no move towards a resignation and stating that there is no place for corruption in football.

During his speech, he said FIFA had an opportunity from tomorrow to “find a way forward to fix things”.

He began: “These are unprecedented and difficult times for FIF. The events of yesterday have cast a long shadow over football and over this week’s congress.

Actions of individuals, if proven, bring shame and humiliation on football and demand action and change from us all. We can not allow the reputation of Fifa to be dragged through the mud any longer.

He claimed that “those who are corrupt in football – as in society – are in a minority”.

“There is no place for corruption of any kind,” he added, stating that they all should be found and caught.

The next few months will not be easy for FIFA. I’m sure more bad news may follow. But it is necessary to begin to restore trust in our organisation. Let this be the turning point.

He also moved to wipe his hands clean of any scandal, acknowledging that some people hold him responsible but denying this, claiming he cannot “monitor everyone all of the time”.

Blatter also stressed FIFA will co-operate with all authorities.

Earlier today, Uefa president Michel Platini has called on FIFA’s Sepp Blatter to resign, telling him there have been “too many scandals”.

Speaking after an emergency meeting of football chiefs today, Platini asked FIFA member nations to vote against him in tomorrow’s election.

“I asked him to resign: enough is enough, Sepp. He listened to me but he told me it is too late,” he said.

I say these things with tears in my eyes. I don’t like it this way. But there are just too many scandals.

European footballing nations are due to meet next week to review their relations with FIFA. On the sidelines of the Champions League final they will “raise all possibilities”, he said, but would not be drawn on potential boycotts of competitions.

Power of Putin

Earlier, FIFA received backing from a significant world figure as Vladimir Putin spoke out in support of the embattled organisation.

The United States was meddling in the soccer body’s affairs in an attempt to take the 2018 World Cup away from his country, the Russian President contended.

He said it was “odd” that the probe was launched at the request of US officials, for crimes which don’t involve its citizens, and didn’t happen in the United States.

Yesterday’s pre-dawn arrests of seven soccer officials in Zurich was “yet another evident attempt to derail Mr. Blatter’s re-election as Fifa’s president,” he said.

Putin also added he was aware of “the pressure” on Sepp Blatter for his support of Russia hosting the World Cup.

Other leaders, however, are lining up on the opposite side of the debate.

David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, today called for the soccer boss to quit, the BBC is reporting. The UK premier is also calling for widespread reform of the governing body.

Russia Putin Source: Associated Press

Meanwhile – as the world’s media keeps a close eye on developments at Zurich, Blatter skipped another speaking engagement earlier today.

He had been due to speak at the opening session of FIFA’s medical conference.

However, chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak told delegates that Blatter had to “manage the situation,” after the governing body was rocked by yesterday’s controversy.

Two vice presidents of the organisation were among seven men arrested yesterday at a Zurich hotel. Fifa headquarters was also raided by Swiss federal agencies for a separate probe of the 2018-2022 World Cup bidding contests.

FIFA Raids Source: Associated Press

Blatter had stayed out of public view by avoiding three scheduled speeches over the past 24 hours. A statement was issued on behalf of Blatter late yesterday where the president insisted he was determined to root out misconduct.

The president of football’s governing body plans to seek a fifth term at the helm of the organisation in an election tomorrow.

Includes reporting from Sinéad O’Carroll, Associated Press and AFP 

Yesterday: FIFA presidential election to go ahead – despite overnight arrests of officials >

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