Pele backs Blatter amid graft probe

FIFA president Sepp Blatter
FIFA president Sepp Blatter

Pele has lent his support to re-elected FIFA president Sepp Blatter amid a corruption scandal engulfing world football’s governing body.

Blatter won a fifth straight four-year term in charge of FIFA during a vote in Zurich last Friday.

The result came two days after seven FIFA officials were arrested on corruption charges as part of a US prosecution that named 14 people.

Blatter was not among those indicted but has faced calls to resign.

“I was in favour [of his re-election]. It was necessary because it is better to have people with experience,” Xinhua quoted Pele as saying on Monday.

“He’s a man who has been there for 25 years [with FIFA], you have to respect him, it was an election,” he added.

Pele is in Havana to watch his former club New York Cosmos play the Cuban national team at the Pedro Marrero stadium on Tuesday.

The fixture marks the first time a US professional sports team has visited Cuba since 1999.