Sepp Blatter suggests interplanetary football is possible
Final frontier doesn't faze Fifa president, who was expected to announce a bid for re-election
Fifa chief Sepp Blatter prompted smirks last night when he suggested that soccer could one day be played on other planets in his opening address last night.
The 78-year-old Swiss has overseen stellar growth in what is regarded as the world game, and with a history of outlandish remarks it was difficult to tell whether he was joking.
In his opening remarks to delegates from all of Fifa's 209 member nations at the 64th Congress, he told them of the impact football can have in the world, before looking into the future.
"We are still in our reform process but we are at the end," he said. "Our basic values of football of discipline, respect and fair play could be brought in everywhere in the world then we would have realised our objective, but our objective never finishes.
"From north to west to east and south ... and we shall wonder if one day our game is played on other planets and then one day we won't have the World Cup, we will have interplanetary contests."
Blatter was expected to defy opposition from European soccer chiefs and declare his candidacy for a new term last night.
Controversy surrounding the 78-year-old Swiss chief and accusations of corruption in Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid have tainted the build-up to the start of the Brazil World Cup in Sao Paulo today.
Blatter, who acceded to the top job in 1998, has been criticised for saying allegations against Qatar - led by the British media - were racist. Several top European officials have called on Blatter to stand down when his term ends next year.
But Blatter has broad support in most federations, with the exception of Europe's, Uefa.