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FIFA chairman re-elected but controversy persists

FIFA President Sepp Blatter gives a press conference with Interpol Secretary-General Ronald K. Noble (not pictured) on May 9, 2011 at the headquarters of the world football's ruling body in Zurich.

Tess Vigeland: Soccer's world governing body has a new president -- same as the old president.

Swiss national Sepp Blatter has run FIFA for more than 12 years and was the only candidate in today's election. And he's got some fancy footwork to do to convince fans that he's going to fix the organization. FIFA is at the center of a global scandal over charges of rampant corruption within its ranks.

Christopher Werth has more from London.


Christopher Werth: For months, Sepp Blatter has been heavily criticized after allegations that FIFA officials took bribes as they decided which countries get to host the World Cup. Germany wants an investigation into the selection process that saw the U.S. lose out to Qatar for the tournament in 2022. But after winning 90 percent of the vote today, Blatter sounded like a calm father reassuring a dysfunctional family.

Sepp Blatter: We are going forward. We are happy. We can be happy. We have solutions. But we have to have acts. And now we are going to act.

One such action: Blatter has promised to shift the power of awarding the World Cup from the secretive, inner circle of FIFA's executive committee to all of its 208 national members. And he says going forward, FIFA will now have a "zero tolerance" policy towards bribery. But is that enough?

Allen Sanderson: I don't things are going to get a whole lot better.

Allen Sanderson is a sports economist at the University of Chicago.

Sanderson: You've got an organization that is reasonably corrupt, and one person running for re-election. What's to suggest there's going to be any significant change?

Blatter's rival for the presidency withdrew last week. He was accused of exchanging cash for votes.

England, a powerful voice in world soccer, had wanted today's election to be postponed until allegations of wrongdoing could be investigated further. But it didn't get its way.

In London, I'm Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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