Sepp Blatter has told delegates he will “shoulder the responsibility to fix FIFA” in his speech ahead of the governing body’s presidential vote.
Blatter is standing against Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein for a fifth term in office, but does so under increasing pressure following the corruption controversy that has rocked FIFA in recent days.
Nine FIFA officials were indicted on Wednesday on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and corruption by Switzerland’s Federal Office of Justice, following a request by United States authorities.
In the wake of the revelations, Blatter has faced calls – including from UEFA president Michel Platini – to stand aside.
However, in his speech to delegates from the 209 member associations ahead of Friday’s vote, Blatter insisted he is the right man to bring about change within the game.
“I am being held accountable for the current storm,” he said. “Okay, so be it, I will shoulder that responsibility. I will take it upon myself. I will accept this responsibility to fix FIFA together with you.
“I want to do it now, tomorrow and the day after and the weeks and months to come.
“I want to hand over a FIFA that will have emerged from the storm, a strong FIFA. A FIFA that will have enough safeguards to not need political interventions.
“A strong FIFA, a beautiful FIFA but in order to achieve that we will have to work hard. No man can do it alone.”
Earlier, Prince Ali had delivered his vision for change, vowing to ensure that the organisation is transparent in its dealings.
He said: “We have heard in recent days, voices which described our FIFA as an avaricious body which feeds on the game that the world loves. We have heard questions raised about whether our family is morally bankrupt.
“Even the darkest nights are broken by a new dawn. Change is not an event, it is a process.
“Today is about honouring the trust invested in each and every one of us. It will take a committed leader to fix this mess that we are in. I will not hide amongst your ranks when things are bad. I will reverse the pyramid.
“I promise to throw open the doors of FIFA house. I will develop a FIFA development program and that is transparent.
“We cannot ignore the clamour outside our doors. Now it the time to show the world that we are hungry for the world’s respect. I call on you to join me.”
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