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By Peter Berlin for Politico Europe, May 29, 2015:
ZURICH — Sepp Blatter was understandably in a warm and fuzzy mood on Friday evening after he won a fifth term as president of FIFA, world soccer’s governing body.
The President for Life looked down from the stage at his constituency, spread his arms and declared “I am the president of everybody.”
That remains in question. He could see out his reign as the aging king of a divided kingdom with the jewel in his crown, the World Cup, shattered into separate pieces.
The election was more of a contest than anticipated. Blatter’s opponent, Prince Ali bin Hussein of Jordan, received 73 votes to four-term incumbent’s 133. It was enough, in theory, to force a second ballot. Yet Ali, to the loud gratitude of the delegates, withdrew. Blatter flattered the Prince on his “strong showing.” The rhino-skinned president can shrug off the protest vote. The danger is that FIFA’s other troubles will give the anti-Blatter hardliners the opportunity to take dramatic action. If they cannot overthrow Blatter, they can break away from his fiefdom.
Blatter’s staunchest opponents have already uttered the word “boycott,” normally taboo among polite (and politic) sports administrators. The next World Cup in Russia in 2018 is the target...................
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