Blatter says scandal brought shame and humiliation to football

ZURICH (Reuters, AFP) - Embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter said on Thursday the corruption scandal surrounding the world soccer body had brought shame and humiliation to football.

In a defiant speech at the opening of a FIFA Congress in Zurich at which he expects to be re-elected president for a fifth term, Blatter said there could be no place for corruption of any kind in the game.

He said the events of the week had "cast a long shadow over football" and noted: "The actions of individuals bring shame and humiliation on football and demand action and change from us all.

"We cannot allow the reputation of football to be dragged through the mud and it has to stop here, now."

Seeking to distance himself from the scandal in which seven senior FIFA figures have been arrested in Switzerland on US corruption charges, Blatter said: ""I know many people hold me ultimately responsible for actions and reputation of the global football community, whether it's a decision for the hosting of a World Cup or a corruption scandal.

"But I cannot monitor everyone all of the time.

"If people want to do wrong, they will also try to hide it, but it must ultimately fall to me to bear the responsibility for the reputation and well-being of our organisation and to ultimately find a way to move forward and fix things."

Blatter said he hoped this would be a turning point for corruption.

"We must earn trust back through the decisions we make," he said.

He added that FIFA had lost trust and must earn it back, starting tomorrow. More needed to be done to make sure everyone in football behaves responsibly and ethically.

Blatter warned there would be more "bad news" for FIFA and called the scandals "unprecedented".

The BBC reported UK prime minister David Cameron had called on Blatter to resign, as did the head of European football's governing body Uefa, Michel Platini.

In an emergency meeting with other Fifa confederation heads and Blatter, Platini had reportedly asked Blatter "as a friend" to resign.

Blatter refused, and the other confederations agreed that Friday's vote for president should go ahead.