As was to be expected regardless of how many votes Sepp Blatter won by in Zurich, those who championed the cause of his opponent, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, did their damndest to put a positive spin on it afterwards. However, if the veteran Swiss survivor had really had his nose bloodied, then he seemed blissfully unaware of the fact.
The 79-year-old, in fact, seemed vaguely disconnected as he gave a short victory speech. There was talk of Fifa needing more “ladies”, of him skippering the boat to take the organisation “offshore” and an early acknowledgement of an election pledge to the delegates from Oceania, one presumes, in the form of an observation that “we really must do something for them”.
“I like you,” he said sounding slightly giddy, slightly confused. “I like my job and I like to be with you. I’m not perfect, nobody’s perfect. Trust and confidence, together we go.” Towards the end, there was even the by-now-traditional hint that this really will be his final four-year term. At the end, his opponents sat and stared in silence while his supporters applauded.
It’s hard to know if Prince Ali’s election would have made a significant difference or whether Fifa is simply too broken. Having received 73 votes to Blatter’s 133 in the first round, he contributed one of the rare moments of dignity of these past few days by conceding in a speech that last barely 30 seconds and included a simple expression of gratitude to those “brave enough to support me”.
He sounded like a man who prefers to leave it there but some supporters clearly have other ideas with prominent officials from Uefa delegations suggesting next week’s Berlin meeting will be a strategy session for the “Blatter out!” campaign.
“This is not over by any means,” said English FA chairman Greg Dyke. “The idea Blatter could reform Fifa is suspect. I’d be very surprised if Mr Blatter was still in this job in two years’ time.”
Dyke again raised the prospect of a European boycott of the World Cup although only if Uefa generally backed it, which seems highly unlikely.
The FAI's John Delaney certainly seemed cool on the idea. "There has been loose talk of that but it wouldn't be my way of doing things," he said. "There will be a lot of talk and discussions and a lot of people will be looking to Uefa as to what Uefa's stance will be going forward. But I don't think the story is over at all. There is more to come."
That much may be true but Fifa's executive committee will still meet today when it will decide how many places at the next World Cup each confederation gets and there are unlikely to be too many if, assuming David Gill stands by his commitment not to attend, Uefa are under-represented.
Blatter will press on regardless. “Trust and confidence, together we go.”