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Embattled Blatter Opens FIFA Congress


UEFA President Sepp Blatter (right) and Mohammed bin Hammam, the Qatari head of the Asian Football Confederation

UEFA President Sepp Blatter (right) and Mohammed bin Hammam, the Qatari head of the Asian Football Confederation

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has opened the world soccer governing body's congress in Zurich amid a deepening corruption scandal.

Blatter said he would speak in more detail about the problems facing FIFA on the second day of the event, June 1.

Hours before the opening, the English and Scottish football associations urged FIFA to postpone a presidential election planned for June 1 in which Blatter, 75, is the only candidate.

His challenger, Mohammed bin Hamman, the head of the Asian Football Confederation, withdrew his candidacy after he was suspended following an inquiry by FIFA's ethics committee into bribery allegations.

Any postponement of the election would need the support of three-quarters of the 208 football federations attending the congress.

Blatter's reelection appeared in no danger, as a threatened walkout of Asian members seemed unlikely to develop.

In a significant development, four of FIFA's biggest commercial partners -- Coca-Cola, Adidas, Emirates airline, and Visa -- all criticized the scandals embroiling the organization.

compiled from agency reports
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