|A picture taken on March 21, 2014 in Zurich shows FIFA president Sepp Blatter during a press conference. Sponsors piled pressure on FIFA leader Sepp Blatter to clean up world football as two major corruption scandals overshadowed the start of a congress on May 28, 2015 which he will seek a new term. — Photo AFP
ZURICH — FIFA boss Sepp Blatter headed into a re-election vote today adamant that only he can clean up football's corruption-tainted headquarters, to the dismay of many as calls mounted for his resignation.
Blatter opened FIFA's annual congress by saying he could "not monitor everyone all of the time," rejecting blame after a dramatic week that saw several arrests and the opening of criminal investigations.
"The next few months will not be easy for FIFA. I am sure more bad news will follow but it is necessary to begin to restore trust in our organisation," the 79-year-old president said on Thursday.
"It must ultimately fall to me to bear the responsibility for the reputation and well-being of our organisation, and to ultimately find a way to move forward and fix things," Blatter added.
He called the scandals "unprecedented" and said the "actions of individuals bring shame and humiliation on football and demand action and change from us all."
Blatter spoke hours after a showdown with European football chief Michel Platini, who called on him to quit despite support for the FIFA chief from Asia and Africa. Demands for action came also from governments in Europe.
British Prime Minister David Cameron backed calls by the English Football Association for Blatter to resign, Cameron's spokesman said. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that if world football can't clear up "poisonous" corruption, government agencies would be forced to step in. — AFP