Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney has expressed his disappointment at Sepp Blatter’s re-election as FIFA president, but believes the divisive Swiss administrator faces an uncertain future as the leader of world soccer’s governing body.
Blatter saw off the challenge from Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan after a week which saw seven FIFA officials arrested and 18 people connected to football indicted on corruption charges by the US justice department.
The 79-year-old won the first round by 133 votes to 73 and, after Prince Ali decided to withdraw ahead of the second round, he was installed as FIFA president for another four years.
“I felt that Ali would get to the second round but not win,” Delaney told RTÉ.
“I’m disappointed for football, disappointed that Blatter now - at the moment - will have a four-year further period to run world football.”
Blatter may have won the battle, but the war for control within FIFA may be far from over, according to the FAI supremo.
“There is strong opposition to him,” Delaney added.
“Seventy-three votes is a lot of votes for a guy who wasn’t that well known. I mean Prince Ali of Jordan wasn’t that well known, wouldn’t have been as well known as [Michel] Platini. He started his campaign probably later in time, so it was a hell of a score to get, in my opinion, given the obstacles he faced with the African countries and a lot of the Asian countries always going to support Blatter.
“Blatter himself admitted yesterday that there will be more to come. God knows what that will unearth.
“It’s not over. Blatter obviously won the vote today but there are a number of things that can happen. First of all, the FBI investigation, the investigations in Switzerland will continue.
“Blatter himself admitted yesterday that there will be more to come. God knows what that will unearth." - John Delaney
“There’ll be a meeting of UEFA at the Champions League final. I won’t be there because we’re playing England the following day, but there will be a meeting of UEFA delegates.”
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has called for a possible boycott of the 2018 World Cup, but Delaney was unenthusiastic about such an approach.
“There’s been loose talk of that,” Delaney said.
“It wouldn’t be really my way of doing things. Pulling out of World Cups is not something I think you should do because you don’t like the person running the organisation.
“But I think there’ll be a lot of talk, a lot of discussions will take place and a lot of people will look to UEFA as to what UEFA’s stance will be going forward because Michel Platini, who is the president of UEFA, has made it very clear that he asked Blatter to step down.”
The aforementioned Dyke says he would be "very surprised" if Blatter was still FIFA president in two years, insisting he has been given "a bloody nose".
"This is not over by any means,” he insisted.
"To quote the Attorney General this is the beginning of the process, not the end.
"The idea Blatter could reform FIFA is suspect. I'd be very surprised if he was still in this job in two years' time.
"That was a bloody nose for him. It may not have been devastation but he never looked comfortable the whole time.
"It was as though 'you might win this one, but you might not win the whole thing'.
"That was a good result for Prince Ali, who had more than a third of the people in FIFA saying to Blatter 'we don't want you' - and given the powers of patronage, that's a good result."
Luis Figo withdrew his candidacy last week - and the former Portugal international was scathing in his criticism of Blatter again after the vote.
He said: "This vote has only served to endorse the election of a man who can't remain in charge of world football.
"Mr Blatter...being re-elected - that shows exactly how the organisation is sick.
"Today was another dark day in Zurich. FIFA has lost, but above everything, football has lost and everyone who truly cares about it has lost too.
"Mr Blatter had a very cynical reaction when he said that he couldn't control everyone. It offends everyone's intelligence.
"If he was minimally concerned about football, he would have given up on re-election. If he has a modicum of decency, he will resign in the next few days."
On his own aborted campaign, the 42-year-old added: "I regret nothing. I fought, I persisted, I made an effort for the regeneration of this organisation that has to change course. We live in an emergency situation and football is the damaged party on this.
"I've denounced what I directly lived. I would do it again. And I remain available to help FIFA rebuild after this."
Platini reiterated his desire for change within FIFA, while congratulating 39-year-old Prince Ali for his "admirable campaign".
The Frenchman said: "I am proud that UEFA has defended and supported a movement for change at FIFA, change which in my opinion is crucial if this organisation is to regain its credibility.
"I congratulate my friend Prince Ali for his admirable campaign and I take the opportunity to thank all the national associations who supported him."