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Blatter pledges to step aside in 2015

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said he will not seek a fifth term in office if he is re-elected for the fourth time in June.

The 75-year-old Swiss has been at the helm of the organisation since 1998, but will face a challenge from Asian confederation chief Mohamed Bin Hammam later this year.

Blatter was re-elected without a challenger in 2007, having faced a contest with Issa Hayatou in 2002.

Addressing the UEFA sponsored congress earlier, Blatter said: “You know I aspire to another four years.

“But these will be the last years for which I stand as candidate.”

The new president will be elected at a FIFA Congress, which starts on May 31st.

Bin Hammam is also attending the event, with the 53 UEFA members making up more than a quarter of the 208 FIFA voters.

Insiders have suggested the move is a ploy to win the vote of UEFA president Michel Platini, who is looking to succeed Blatter in 2015.

Bin Hammam has said he would be interested in cutting a deal with Platini to oust Blatter, but is likely to want eight years in office.

The winner needs a two-thirds majority of valid votes cast in the first ballot, or a majority in the second.

FIFA leadership has been questioned in recent months, following the controversial decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Soaring summer temperatures, lack of footballing pedigree, and the required infrastructure have all been raised as possible hurdles to a successful event.

Sports Tourism

The FIFA World Cup is among the crown jewels of the ever expanding sports tourism industry – valued at $600 billion annually by WSDE Sport Tourism Expo.

The event is the only global B-2-B exhibition dedicated to showcasing the most rapidly growing sector in travel and tourism.

Now in its 2nd year, WSDE 2011 will take place in Bangkok, Thailand - Asia’s Sport Tourism Gateway - from 27th – 29th September 2011.