U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati says that while his federation is "disappointed" that Sepp Blatter was reelected as FIFA president, he will
"continue to push for meaningful change within FIFA."
Blatter was elected for a fifth term as FIFA's president on Friday, defeating Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan to maintain the position he has held since 1998. Blatter did not reach a two-thirds majority on the first ballot, winning 133 votes to Prince Ali's 73, but Prince Ali conceded before the simple-majority second ballot began.
Gulati said Thursday that U.S. Soccer would vote for Ali over Blatter in the election, which was held amid a corruption scandal rocking FIFA. Blatter was not among the 14 individuals arrested and charged by the United States Department of Justice on Wednesday with racketeering, fraud and money laundering. Swiss authorities opened separate criminal proceedings into FIFA's bid process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
After the vote, Gulati released a statement congratulating Blatter for his reelection but admitting U.S. Soccer was disappointed with the result.
While we are disappointed in the result of the election, we will continue to push for meaningful change within FIFA. Our goal is for governance of FIFA that is responsible, accountable, transparent and focused solely on the best interests of the game. This is what FIFA needs and deserves, and what the people who love our game around the world demand. We congratulate President Blatter and it is our hope he will make reform his number one priority to ensure the integrity of the sport across the world.
On Thursday, Gulati addressed the possibility that U.S. Soccer's support for Ali would cost the U.S. a chance to host a future World Cup.
“Would we like to host a future World Cup? The answer is of course yes,” Gulati said. “But for me and for U.S. Soccer, especially at this time but at any time, having CONCACAF and FIFA governed and managed with integrity is far more important than hosting a World Cup or any other event. That’s our focus right now.”