Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 30th 2015 Contents ZURICH---The Palestinian and Is-
raeli soccer federations took an un-
easy path to reaching an accord at the
Fifa Congress yesterday.
The Palestinians withdrew its
plans for vote on suspending Israeli
from world football after weeks of
talks involving Fifa and political lead-
"I am here to play football rather
than play politics," Palestinian foot-
ball leader Jibril Rajoub said from the
stage. "I don't want to score goals, I
want to end suffering."
Rajoub eventually accepted his Is-
raeli counterpart Ofer Eini's offer of a
public handshake in the hall after an
awkward stand-off lasting several
"Football is a uniting element, not
a dividing element," Eini said earlier
through a translator.
The handshake followed Fifa presi-
dent Sepp Blatter steering away Ra-
joub's request for a separate vote
registering protests against Israeli
The Palestinians have argued that
Israel restricts movement of its play-
ers in the West Bank and Gaza. (AP)
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
Palestinians drop planned Fifa vote to suspend Israel
ZURICH---The Fifa election is won and done. Sepp
Blatter's problems, however, are far from over.
The prize for the 79-year-old president of soccer's
governing body is four more years in office and some
big issues ahead. American and Swiss federal inves-
tigations, which rocked Fifa this week, could yet
creep closer to Blatter's door.
Blatter, who defeated Prince Ali bin al-Hussein
yesterday in the Fifa presidential election, is also set
for open conflict with UEFA and its president, former
protege Michel Platini.
"At the end of my term I will give this Fifa to my
successor in a very, very strong position, a robust
position," Blatter said in his acceptance speech.
Here are some questions and answers about Blatter
Q: What next for Blatter?
A: Carry on regardless, is one answer. And keep
Blatter was defiant this week in shifting blame for
the American corruption case on the actions of indi-
viduals out of his control. His candidate speech to
voters Friday simply offered more of the same lead-
"You know who you are dealing with," he said.
"What football needs right now is a strong leader,
an experienced leader, a leader who knows all the
ins and outs of the situation."
Blatter offered no big ideas in his campaign---he
did not even bother with a manifesto---but offered
one pledge in his acceptance speech. He put Europe
on notice by promising a "better representation of
the confederations" on his executive committee,
where UEFA has eight of 25 voting members.
Translation: Dilute UEFA's influence after it sup-
ported Prince Ali and two other election candidates
from Europe who withdrew last week.
The Fifa vs UEFA fight resumes this morning when
Blatter chairs a meeting of his 27-member executive
committee. It must decide how to allocate qualifying
slots for the 2018 World Cup. Europe's 13 places---
not including host Russia---should be safe.
Q: When will Blatter finally answer questions
about the election and the federal investiga-
A: Fifa has called a news conference for 11.30 am
(0930 GMT; 5.30 am EDT) on Saturday after the
executive committee session. It will be Blatter's first
formal meeting with international media in 15 days.
The Fifa president will want to talk about his elec-
tion victory. But he will also be quizzed on the Amer-
ican case which left two of his vice presidents and
a newly elected member of his executive committee
in Zurich prison cells during Friday's election.
They are among seven soccer officials fighting
extradition to the U.S. after being arrested at a luxury
downtown hotel early Wednesday.
The key question for Blatter? How and why was
$10 million paid from a FIFA account as apparent
bribes in the 2010 World Cup hosting contest.
The money ended up with Blatter's longtime exec-
utive committee colleagues Jack Warner of Trinidad
and Tobago and Chuck Blazer of the United States
to vote for South Africa's successful bid.
Q: What about the American and Swiss
A: They are a rare part of the Fifa game that Blatter
A 164-page US indictment detailed racketeering,
money-laundering and wire fraud charges involving
14 soccer and marketing officials. Four more, including
Blazer, were named as having made guilty pleas.
The case involves widespread bribery in the award
of hundreds of millions of dollars in commercial
deals for tournaments in North and South Amer-
ica.Blatter was not named in the indictment, nor were
there many links directly to Fifa.
Still, US federal authorities have promised it is
just the beginning of their case. More ties to Fifa
could be revealed when questioning---and plea bar-
gaining---begins of indicted officials facing 20-year
Fifa itself provoked the Swiss investigation by filing
a criminal complaint to the attorney general's office
about potential wrongdoing in the 2018 and 2022
World Cup hosting contests won by Russia and Qatar,
Swiss authorities began questioning 10 Fifa voters
Though FIFA invited the case, they may come to
regret where it leads. Any serious findings will revive
pressure for a World Cup re-vote---though the sport-
ing and legal implications would be immense.
Q: What do Blatter's critics inside FIFA do
A: For Prince Ali, his spell on the Blatter-chaired
Fifa executive committee is over.
He was maneuvered out of his Fifa vice presidency
by Asian Football Confederation leaders, and then
focused only on his FIFA presidential run.
The prince remains president of Jordan's soccer
federation, and is next due at a Fifa meeting when
the annual congress is held in Mexico City next May.
Over to you, Europe.
"Enough is enough," Platini said Thursday, after
asking Blatter to resign. "People no longer want him
anymore and I don't want him anymore either."
The rift with Blatter won't end soon and could be
widened next Friday. Platini has called his member
federations to discuss their tactics in Berlin ahead
of the Champions League final on June 6.
The high-stakes options are pulling out from Fifa
or boycotting the 2018 World Cup.
Platini does not want that, but said all options
are open for his members to discuss and decide.
What lies ahead for Fifa,
Blatter in his 5th term
Re-elected Fifa president Sepp Blatter, right, is congratulated by Fifa vice president and UEFA president
Michel Platini after his speech during the 65th FIFA Congress held at the Hallenstadion in Zurich,
Switzerland, yesterday. AP PHOTO
55 for the West Indies
President's XI against
Australia at the Vivian
Richards Cricket Stadi-
um, on Thursday.
"I thank you, you
have accepted me for
the next four years. I
will be in command
of this boat of Fifa.
We will bring it back
SEPP BLATTER after
winning the Fifa pres-
(Ext: 2213, 2711,
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