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Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK
Blatter booed at Fifa meeting
Fifa president Sepp Blatter
Despite the furore, Blatter is likely to be re-elected
The boss of football's governing body was booed and jeered at a meeting on Tuesday as delegates accused him of avoiding tough questions about his management.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter appeared to stage-manage a question-and-answer session about the state of Fifa's finances.

On Wednesday, a vote will be held to elect the next head of Fifa and Blatter's behaviour seemed engineered to assist his campaign for an extended term in office.

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

Open Quote
Fifa is not working any more - we will have to rebuild Fifa
Close Quote
Michel Zen-Ruffinen
Fifa general secretary
"The way the meeting was handled was an absolute disgrace.

"There were a number of people who wished to speak but I think Mr Blatter was working from a very selective list of those he wanted the congress to hear."

"It was absolutely scandalous," said Issa Hayatou, the head of the African Football Confederation (CAF), who is standing against Blatter for the presidency.

Fifa general secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen - a former ally of Blatter - said: "Fifa is not working any more. In the 16 years I have been at Fifa I have never seen anything like this. We will have to rebuild Fifa."

Zen-Ruffinen produced an explosive report this month for the executive committee claiming Blatter had mismanaged Fifa's money.

Blatter has been accused by top Fifa officials of spending money to secure his re-election. They have started legal action in Switzerland, where the world body is based.

But the Fifa president has insisted that the finances are sound and is confident of winning another term.

"We will show you where the money comes from and where the money goes. We have nothing to hide and will hide nothing," said Blatter.

"I am very confident that I will be given a second mandate at the vote on Wednesday because more than 100 associations asked me to stand for re-election."

But at Tuesday's meeting Blatter refused about 15 delegates permission to speak - and there have been suggestions this could work against him as he attempts to win more votes than Cameroonian Hayatou.

Adam Crozier of the FA
Crozier was angry about Blatter's behaviour
David Will, the Fifa vice-president in charge of the Internal Audit Committee, has said that he is going to recommend that the congress does not approve the financial report for 2001 or the budget proposals for 2003-2006.

Will said the report from Fifa being put before Congress was "seriously flawed".

And Uefa president Lennart Johansson insisted Blatter should consider pulling out of the election.

He said: "It is still not too late for him to step down but if he refuses some of us have to make a stand."

Of the 205 national associations which have a vote, 195 are expected to attend.

But the crux will be how many associations are willing to rock the boat.

Each association currently receives 250,000 annually plus cash top-ups through Fifa's Goal project.

And in the end they may feel that a new man could ask too many questions about how the money is spent.

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