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Blatter repeats England criticism

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has echoed comments by his vice president Julio Grondona that England was...

FIFA President Sepp Blatter meets ANC President Jacob Zuma at the Luthuli House in Johannesburg, South Africa on 17 September 2008. Picture: Chris Ricco/Backpagepix

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has echoed comments by his vice president Julio Grondona that England was always the source of accusations against soccer's governing body.

Blatter, re-elected unopposed on Wednesday for a fourth term, joked that he had "cauliflower ears" from the criticism that rained down on FIFA over the past few weeks.

"I have strengthened my will to fight because I'm convinced that much, or most, of what FIFA has been accused is not correct," he said in an interview with Switzerland's Tagesanzeiger newspaper.

"Astonishingly, it always comes from the same corners ... The English FA president (David Bernstein) said almost tearfully: 'It gives me no pleasure to say this.' So why did he say it, then?

Argentina's Grondona launched an astonishing attack on England during Wednesday's FIFA Congress it had been complaining since 1974 when Stanley Rous lost the presidency to Joao Havelange. He also accused British media of publishing lies. An English FA proposal to cancel Wednesday's election was defeated.

Blatter, who said on Wednesday that there would be no recriminations against England, pointed out that UEFA President Michel Platini was also unopposed when he was re-elected in March.

"Have a quick look back at how the president of UEFA and other confederations were elected and how many candidates there were," he said.

"FIFA is not corrupt. I cannot start with the word corrupt. Someone is only corrupt when he is been found guilty. "I have been given a good beating and I have two cauliflower ears."

Blatter again distanced himself from his 24-man executive committee, saying it would not have accepted the reforms passed by Congress -- at which each of the 208 member associations has one vote on Wednesday.

"I had to wait until I had the right platform for them, which was Congress. I have always said that my partners in FIFA are the national associations, who choose me.

"In the executive are people who are chosen by the confederations. After two members were suspended in November, I knew I must do something."

Four executive committee members have been suspended -- two in November and two more last Sunday, who have been provisionally banned pending further investigations.

Blatter said he had still to decide what to do about secretary general Jerome Valcke over an email to an executive committee member in which he said that Qatar "bought" the right to host the 2022 World Cup.

"I have already said I would deal with this after the FIFA Congress," he said. Valcke has said he was the author of the email but denied he had accused Qatar of corruption.

Timeline

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