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UEFA gives Blatter the cold shoulder in Brazil

Reuters

By Mike Collett

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter endured a tense and frosty reception from UEFA delegates on Tuesday, who stood alone from other confederations in not backing his intentions to run for a further term as FIFA president again next year.

Michael van Praag, the president of the Dutch FA and Greg Dyke, the chairman of the English FA, openly challenged Blatter after he addressed the European delegates at their national association meeting before the FIFA Congress which begins on Tuesday evening.

After Blatter had told the assembled UEFA delegates he was seriously considering standing for a fifth term, Van Praag addressed the Swiss head of world soccer, the Dutchman later told reporters.

"Mr Blatter, this is nothing personal but if you look at FIFA's reputation over the last seven or eight years, it is being linked to all kinds of corruption and all kinds of old boys' networks things," Van Praag said he had told Blatter in the meeting from which reporters were barred.

"FIFA has an executive president and you are not making things easy for yourself and I do not think you are the man for the job any longer.

"I told him 'I like you very much ... this is nothing personal. But you are now saying that Qatar was the wrong choice (for the 2022 World Cup), but you are not blaming yourself you are blaming your executive committee.

"Yesterday you said something about racism against Qatar and people are not taking you seriously any more. This is not good for FIFA and it is not good for the game.

"Yes you are leading the reforms at the moment, but all these problems occurred in the period before the reforms and you were still president and you responsible and I believe you should not run any more."

UEFA took no resolution against Blatter, but the mood of the meeting had been "tense" according to a UEFA spokesman who said Blatter received only polite applause at the end.

After the meeting former UEFA president Lennart Johansson, who lost a FIFA presidential election to Blatter in 1998 told reporters: "It is time he went. He has done some good things for football and FIFA but 16 years is enough."

(This story was refiled to correct Van Praag spelling)

(Reporting by Mike Collett; Editing by Ossian Shine)

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