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Wednesday, 29 May, 2002, 08:15 GMT 09:15 UK
How Blatter found himself on the brink
Fifa president Sepp Blatter
Blatter faces a date with destiny on Wednesday

On Wednesday Sepp Blatter was re-elected president of Fifa, despite coming under attack from all sides.

Blatter beat Issa Hayatou, head of the African federation, at the end of a bitter campaign of allegation, denial and counter-allegation.

  Sepp Blatter
66-year-old Swiss, formerly worked at watch-makers Longines
Technical director at Fifa between 1975-81
Right-hand man at Fifa as general secretary between 1981 and 1998
Consummate showman, speaks five languages
Took over as Fifa president in 1998
The 66-year-old Swiss, who has ruled football's global governing body for four years, stands accused of corruption, financial mismanagement and bribery.

Despite his re-election, Blatter's standing has been badly tarnished by the events of the past five months.


How the Battle of Blatter unfolded

June 2001
Blatter comes through the annual Fifa conference unscathed - despite the collapse of ISL, the marketing company he had hired to oversee the next two World Cups.

ISL's bankruptcy lost Fifa 40m. Criminal charges against members of the company were quickly followed by the cancellation of the World Club Championship - a competition dubbed 'Blatter's baby'.

27 February 2002
Newspapers make allegations that Blatter supporters offered bribes of up to $100,000 to delegates in return for votes at the 1998 Fifa presidential election.

8 March
With Fifa's finances coming under severe scrutiny, an internal audit committee is set up to investigate.

16 March
Cameroon's Issa Hayatou announces that he will stand against Blatter for the Fifa presidency, promising a "transparent and open" office.

His bid is endorsed by Uefa president Lennart Johansson and Chung Mong-joon, head of the Asian confederation.

11 April
The internal audit is suspended by Blatter, who claims that its confidentially has been breached.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter
Blatter has denied all wrong-doing
Committee chairman David Will, a Fifa vice president, criticises the move as "constitutionally flawed" and says he will proceed with his own inquiries.

South African soccer chief Danny Jordaan calls for an independent inquiry to investigate the growing number of allegations against Blatter.

18 April
Fifa general secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen tells a Swiss newspaper that there have been "financial irregularities" and says Blatter stopped the internal audit to prevent him giving evidence.

Within the fortnight, Zen-Ruffinen submits a damning 30-page report detailing alleged malpractices within Fifa and raises the possibility that Blatter could be open to criminal investigation.

Zen-Ruffinen says as much as 246.5m could have been lost during Blatter's presidency.

8 May
Senior members of Fifa begin legal proceedings against Blatter.

Fifa's senior European boss, Lennart Johansson, says, "We have no choice but to go to the Swiss legal authorities.

"Following the report of Michel Zen-Ruffinen to the executive committee, we are now obliged to act."

12 May
Blatter hits back at his accusers, claiming that Zen-Ruffinen's report is ridden with errors.

"The fact that I did not even have the chance to respond to a document presented by the general secretary is a measure of the style of this smear campaign," he says.

Fifa general secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen
Zen-Ruffinen's report rocked Fifa
"The general secretary's document included misleading facts, figures and allegations. It is a campaign that is doing immeasurable damage to football's image."

18 May
Blatter produces a 30-page report rejecting accusations of corruption made against him.

"This document will leave you in no doubt that my arguments prove that I am blameless and that the allegations made against me are both false and groundless," he says.

"They will come back to haunt my accusers, above all the general secretary."

23 May
Blatter arrives in South Korea and says he fully expects to be re-elected as Fifa president.

"Because of the work we have done over 20 years with Fifa I am confident," he said.

27 May
Blatter holds a special meeting two days before the presidential election takes place and is jeered by delegates for appearing to stage-manage the conference.

Adam Crozier, the boss of the English FA, says, "I am very disappointed and very angry and I think those feelings are shared by the majority of people here.

"The way the meeting was handled was an absolute disgrace."

Vice-president David Will says Fifa has lost 215m over the last four years and is on the verge of bankruptcy.

He alleges that a report about to be given by Blatter about Fifa's finances is seriously flawed.

In a letter to all national federations, Will says Fifa borrowed 313m secured against income expected from the 2002 and 2006 World Cups and used the money to claim it was in profit.

29 May
Blatter is re-elected president of Fifa by 139 votes to 56.

Blatter says: "Many thanks for electing me. You cannot imagine how this makes me feel after having been accused for months by certain people, who said I was a bad man.

"You cannot be so bad when this happens. We are all good. Let us now forget what has happened and go forward.

"Fifa will be one family, united. We have to restore our unity, then we will restore our credibility."

 VOTE RESULTS
Was Fifa right to re-elect Sepp Blatter?

Yes
 12.75% 

No
 87.25% 

16280 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
Spotlight on Fifa president Sepp Blatter

Blatter re-elected

Build-up to vote

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