FIFA's Blatter wins election after opponent withdraws

Embattled FIFA President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter will continue to head international soccer's governing body after his opponent withdrew from the race on Friday.

The results of Friday's vote saw the 79-year-old Blatter receiving 133 of the 140 votes needed to win election. His opponent, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, only won 73 votes in his attempt to end Blatter's 17-year rule. As delegates prepared for a second vote, al-Hussein approached a podium and announced that he would withdraw.

"I take the responsibility to bring back FIFA," Blatter said after his victory.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter (L) makes a symbolic handshake with FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke during the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich on May 29, 2015.
Michael Buholzer | AFP | Getty Images
FIFA President Sepp Blatter (L) makes a symbolic handshake with FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke during the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich on May 29, 2015.

The vote came two days after Swiss police arrested seven soccer officials, including two FIFA vice presidents, as part of corruption investigations in the United States and Switzerland. It has been a dramatic build up to the election, which European delegates wanted to delay.

Blatter offered a defense of his tenure on Thursday at the opening speech of FIFA's 65th congress.

"I know many people hold me ultimately responsible for the actions and reputation of the global football community, whether it's the decision for the hosting of a World Cup or a corruption scandal," he said at the time. "We, or I, cannot monitor everyone all of the time. If people want to do wrong, they will also try to hide it."

But Blatter also committed to helping to clean up his organization, which he admitted had lost much of the world's trust.

The U.S. indicted several top current and former FIFA officials on Wednesday, accusing them of corruption that involved more than $150 million in bribes.

Several sponsors, including Visa, have expressed their disappointment in FIFA following the release of the U.S. charges.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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