FIFA president Sepp Blatter confirmed Friday that he would stand for a fifth term in charge of world football in an election in May next year.

“I have announced to the Executive Committee … that I will accept the demands of different associations and federations (to stand for election) to serve FIFA for a fifth mandate,” Blatter said.

The 78-year-old has been FIFA’s leader since 1998, but has faced growing criticism from European football chiefs in recent months.

The World Cup, a multi-billion dollar earner for FIFA, is also embroiled in controversy over the way the 2018 and 2022 tournaments were decided.

His path to a virtually automatic re-election was opened up after UEFA leader Michel Platini announced in August that he would not challenge Blatter.

Blatter said after winning his fourth term in 2011 that it would be his last, but made it clear in recent months that he has changed his mind.

The election will be held at next FIFA congress in Zurich on May 29, 2015. So far the only other candidate is Jerome Champagne a former FIFA deputy secretary general from France.

Champagne has said FIFA needs reform after widespread accusations of corruption, but has acknowledged he has little chance of beating Blatter.  – Agence France-Presse

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