- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 20, 2011

GENEVA (AP) - Sepp Blatter has made his first direct appeal to FIFA voters, urging them to reject “revolution” and re-elect him president on June 1.

Blatter insists in a letter sent to 208 national associations and published Wednesday that he can provide “stability, continuity and reliability” in a world of political and economic turmoil.

Blatter also promised to spread $1 billion among FIFA members for development projects over the next four years, and tackle the threats of “corruption, match-fixing and doping.”

It’s Blatter’s first campaign statement since being challenged last month by former ally Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar, who has pledged to share even more of FIFA’s wealth with voters. Bin Hammam is not mentioned in the four-page letter.

The 75-year-old Swiss, who has led soccer’s world governing body since 1998, seeks a fourth four-year term that he says will be his last.

“I have all the motivation, experience, ideas and energy necessary to complete my mission,” Blatter wrote.

With FIFA often accused of corruption on his watch, Blatter also promised a strong monitoring role for its ethics committee. The panel suspended two members of FIFA’s 24-man executive committee from the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting votes last December

“I will ensure discipline, respect and fair play on and off the field,” Blatter said.

Blatter’s announcement comes one month after bin Hammam, the Asian Football Confederation president, launched his campaign in Kuala Lumpur.

Bin Hammam has pledged wider distribution of World Cup profits, which helped create FIFA’s $1.28 billion reserve fund. He said he would double annual grants, giving all 208 members a basic $500,000, and double maximum payments toward Goal program projects to $1 million.

He also promised to share FIFA’s power and jobs with its six confederations, by offering 17 extra seats on the executive body and creating legal and development teams at continental headquarters.

The 61-year-old Qatari, who played a key role in his country winning the rights to the 2022 World Cup, also promised to create a transparency panel to help restore public faith in FIFA.

However, public opinion will be less important than support from influential confederation bosses such as Europe’s Michel Platini and Jack Warner from the CONCACAF region of North, Central America and the Caribbean.

“I will make a statement at the beginning of May about the position of UEFA,” Platini said Wednesday in London.

Platini is scheduled to represent his 53-member group at the South American soccer congress in May 1 in Asuncion, Paraguay, and the CONCACAF gathering May 3 in Miami.

Story Continues →