Sepp Blatter has been re-elected as FIFA president, holding on to the position he has held since 1998, after Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein of Jordan withdrew from the election.
His win comes two days after nine current and former high-ranking FIFA officials were arrested on corruption charges in a dramatic early morning raid in Zurich.
Blatter was not charged. Before the election, he said he could not be held responsible for the misdeeds of others within the organisation he has controlled for the better part of two decades.
Blatter beat Prince Ali with 133 of the 209 votes in the first round, falling short of the needed two-thirds majority and forcing a second vote that would have needed just a simple majority.
Each FIFA member state got a vote in the election. While the ballots were secret, it’s widely assumed that most if not all of the 101 member states in Africa and Asia voted for Blatter. The U.S. voted for Prince Ali, according to U.S. soccer head Sunil Gulati. It’s believed that many European countries did as well.
While much of the western world remains baffled that Blatter remains in power, he’s still popular among soccer officials in smaller nations because of the way FIFA funding for football development has been evenly distributed regardless of a country’s size or infrastructure during his reign.
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