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Blatter plans final term as Bin Hammam calls for change

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Hammam on FIFA campaign transparency
  • Sepp Blatter will step down as FIFA president in 2015, if elected for another term
  • His presidential rival Mohammed Bin Hammam has said it is time for a change
  • Bin Hammam is Blatter's first election opponent since Issa Hayatou in 2002
  • The vote for the FIFA presidency will take place in Zurich, Switzerland on June 1

(CNN) -- FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he would step aside as the head of football's global governing body in 2015, if he wins the June 1 presidential ballot.

Blatter's announcement came on Tuesday after his opponent, head of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Mohamed Bin Hammam, told CNN the time had arrived for a change at the top of world soccer's power base.

Bin Hammam -- a 61-year-old FIFA executive committee member -- confirmed last week he would run against Blatter in the election, the first candidate to do so since Africa's Issa Hayatou was defeated by the Swiss in 2002.

"You know very well that I am a candidate for the next four years as FIFA president but these will be the last four years for which I stand," Blatter, 75, told a UEFA congress in Paris.

Can Bin Hammam change FIFA for the better?

Both men were present at a meeting of European football's governing body in the French capital as they looked to secure backing ahead of the vote in Zurich.

FIFA has been under the same presidency for 13 years...It is time for a new direction
--Mohamed Bin Hammam

"FIFA has been under the same presidency for 13 years," Bin Hammam told CNN.

"Mr Blatter has been heavily involved in the administration of FIFA for 35 years. I believe he has contributed a lot to the development of the game, but as I said, this is a long time.

"It is time for a new direction. A lot of fans today have grown up and they have only known Mr. Blatter as head of FIFA, or head of the administration of FIFA, so I think change is not the wrong thing."

Blatter's presidential rival vows reform

Bin Hammam, who has been at the summit of Asian football since 2002, also said greater transparency is needed among the game's decision makers.

FIFA became mired in controversy ahead of their decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively, with two executive committee members -- Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarri -- suspended amid allegations of selling votes.

"People would like to see transparency within FIFA," said Bin Hamman. "FIFA is always accused of corruption and it is not (corrupt). What is missing, and lacking, is transparency which over the years we could not provide to the public."

A Qatar native, Bin Hammam also defended the emirates' conduct during the bidding process for the 2022 tournament.

"Qatar played the game according to the law of the game. People were not happy, but people will not be happy with so many decisions taken by FIFA.

"I don't think people were happy about Russia winning the right to host 2018. Now is not the time to cry about something that happened in the past. Let us hope the future is going to be more transparent and more open for the public."

Blatter -- the eighth incumbent of FIFA's top job -- was this month boosted by the news the 2010 World Cup had made the non-profit organization $3.655 billion and said he was not expecting to be challenged in the forthcoming elections.

Blatter: 2010 World Cup was a huge financial success

However, Bin Hammam announced he would compete for the role of FIFA chief on March 18 and has not spoken with Blatter since.

"Not since I announced I was running, I spoke to him maybe two weeks back.

"I hope Mr. Blatter realizes our game is about competition and there is nothing wrong with competing. I hope we will understand that competition does not mean we are enemies."

Meanwhile, Frenchman Michel Platini has been re-elected unopposed as president of European football's governing body UEFA on Tuesday.

The 55-year-old former European Player of the Year will serve a second mandate of four years, having first been elected in 2007 when he took over from Lennart Johansson.