Zurich — As defiant as ever, Sepp Blatter resisted calls to resign as FIFA president Thursday and deflected blame for the massive bribery and corruption scandal engulfing soccer's world governing body.
"We, or I, cannot monitor everyone all of the time," Blatter said in his first public remarks on the crisis that has further tainted his leadership on the eve of his bid for a fifth term as president.
Blatter, 79, insisted he could restore trust after two corruption investigations brought "shame and humiliation" on the organization and the world's most popular sport.
"We cannot allow the reputation of football and FIFA to be dragged through the mud any longer," he said. "It has to stop here and now."
Despite a tide of criticism and pressure on him to leave, Blatter is moving ahead with a presidential election today that is likely to bring him another four years in office as one of the most powerful men in sports.
"The events (of this week) have cast a long shadow over football," he said, his voice shaky at times during a speech to open FIFA's two-day congress. "There can be no place for corruption of any kind."
Blatter refused to back down after European soccer body UEFA demanded earlier Thursday he quit following the latest — and most serious allegations — to discredit FIFA during his 17 years in office.
"Enough is enough," UEFA president Michel Platini said. "People no longer want him anymore and I don't want him anymore either."
Platini met privately with Blatter and asked him to go.
"I am asking you to leave FIFA, to step down because you are giving FIFA a terrible image," Platini said he told Blatter during their meeting. "In terms of our image, it is not good at all and I am the first one to be disgusted by this."
Blatter, who is expected to win the election against Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, is coming under increasing scrutiny amid U.S. and Swiss federal investigations into high-level corruption tearing at FIFA.
Officials from the Miami Beach-based Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean Football Association (CONCACAF) announced Thursday they had dismissed president Jeffrey Webb and vice president Eduardo Li and named senior vice president Alfredo Hawit as CONCACAF president.
Officials from one of FIFA's major sponsors, Visa, warned they could pull out of its contract, worth at least $25 million a year through 2022.
Visa urged FIFA "to take swift and immediate steps to address these issues within its organization."