Football

A topic all the papers can agree on: The Telegraph says Sepp Blatter delivers bizarre winner’s speech after winning Fifa election

Football fans around the world were facing four more years of Sepp Blatter on Friday after he defied the worst crisis in Fifa’s history to sweep to victory in its presidential elections. Blatter marked his victory with a bizarre acceptance speech in which he referenced God, Allah, the need for more “ladies” in Fifa and compared Fifa to a boat.

The biggest corruption scandal the governing body has faced since its formation 111 years ago failed to unseat the most powerful man in the game, despite the threat of a World Cup boycott by England and other European nations if he triumphed.

Worldwide calls for Blatter to resign from both inside and outside the game following Wednesday’s dramatic dawn arrest of some of his most senior lieutenants failed to move those with the power to end his 17-year reign, who cheered and applauded when he was announced the victor.

The Guardian headline reads: Warning of more Fifa corruption charges as Sepp Blatter retains presidency

Authorities in the US warned of further charges in the Fifa bribery investigation as the global football body’s president, Sepp Blatter, was re-elected despite the crisis engulfing the sport and investigators in Argentina raided the offices of sports media companies.

A senior US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official said late on Friday that he was “fairly confident” of another round of indictments in the criminal investigation into alleged corruption within Fifa, according to a report. In Britain the Serious Fraud Office said it was “actively assessing material in its possession” regarding the Fifa allegations.

Several senior Fifa figures have been indicted in bribery and kickback schemes, although no charges were brought against Blatter, who was re-elected on Friday in a move decried by many because of the huge scandal that has blown up on his watch.

The Independent expresses it as ‘I am the president of everybody’: Welcome to Blatter’s inglorious re-election to the Seppocracy

Things fell apart. The centre held. With Fifa’s top executives still locked up in detention centres all over town, world football’s governing body voted resoundingly for four more years of the same: Sepp Blatter.

“I’m not perfect,” he said, as the room erupted in applause. “Nobody’s perfect. I like you. I like my job. I like to be with you. I take the responsibility to bring back Fifa. ”

It had been a long few days for Fifa’s embattled President, though he’s used to them, and his nautical metaphor failed him. “We will bring it back off-shore, back to the beach, football can be played, beach soccer. I am a faithful man. God, Allah or whatever it is spirit in the world that we believe, they will help us to bring back Fifa. I will do it with you.”

It took two rounds of votes, in the end, but it was a mere formality. 133 votes to Mr Blatter, 73 to Prince Ali bin Al Hussein took it, was three short of the two thirds majority required for a first round win.

Defence

The Telegraph reports that “Nimrod cuts ‘have allowed Russian submarines to spy on Trident’

Russian submarines are likely to have gathered valuable intelligence on Britain’s nuclear deterrent since the Government scrapped maritime patrol aircraft needed to track them, senior RAF figures warn. Britain’s lack of submarine-hunting planes after the Nimrod fleet was axed has left Trident vulnerable to Russian spying which could “prejudice the security and effectiveness” of the deterrent, they argue.

In a letter to the Telegraph they also warn that unless new patrol aircraft are bought urgently, the Royal Navy’s new £6 billion aircraft carriers will be “put severely at risk”. The letter from five retired senior officers with significant maritime aviation experience comes as the Government begins a new defence review.

Cameron’s “Re-negotiation”

The Telegraph  quotes Angela Merkel: “David Cameron’s demands for EU reform ‘not impossible’

Angela Merkel has handed David Cameron’s bid to reform the EU a major boost, saying that treaty change is not “impossible” and that the rules on migrants’ access to benefits can be reformed.

Following talks with Mr Cameron in Berlin, the German Chancellor said that European leaders “cannot say that treaty change is total impossibility”.

The Prime Minister is demanding major changes to Britain’s relationship with Brussels before the in-out referendum he has promised to hold by the end of 2017. At the centre of the plan is a pledge to ban EU migrants from claiming in-work benefits for four years, in the hope that remove the state subsidy for low-paid work cuts migration.

Tax Returns

The Guardian reports that “HMRC waives tax return penalties ‘whenever someone appeals’

People who filed late tax returns have been let off a £100 fine for missing the deadline, it has been reported. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has waived the penalty for those who provided a “reasonable” excuse for being late, according to the Daily Telegraph.

An internal memo leaked to the newspaper revealed that HMRC staff were asked to write off the fine without further investigation for individuals who could show mitigating circumstances, and who appealed after paying their tax bill. The 31 January deadline for completing tax self-assessment forms was reportedly missed by 890,000 people.

A HMRC spokesman told the Telegraph: “We want to focus more and more of our resources on investigating major tax avoidance and evasion rather than penalising ordinary people who are trying to do the right thing.”

Labour Leadership

The Guardian  claims that “Liz Kendall ‘will back white working-class young’

Children from white working class backgrounds in particular need to be taught more about aspiration and the chance to improve their lives, Liz Kendall, one of the Labour leadership candidates, has said.

The shadow minister for care and older people put education at the heart of her mission to be Labour leader as she promised to launch a project encouraging businesses, unions and volunteers to go into state schools to show how learning can transform lives.

The three main leadership candidates – Kendall, Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper– all gave speeches on Friday emphasising the need to move on from Labour’s past and re-engage with disillusioned voters. Kendall said her own background was ordinary and her parents were “like many across Britain, neither on the breadline, nor loaded”. But she said many of her “brilliant, funny, acutely intelligent” school friends had never fulfilled their potential.

House of Commons

The Independent reports that “Beast of Bolsover Dennis Skinner wins battle of Commons benches with invading Scottish Nationalists

Dennis Skinner claims to have won his bench war with the SNP. The Scots tried to prise him from his favourite Commons perch, on the opposition front bench alongside the central aisle, but they have not managed it yet and, he says, they know they never will.

It all began when 56 SNP MPs arrived in Westminster intent on making the point that they are now the third biggest party in the Commons. They decided they would occupy the whole of the lower half of the front bench.

Before Parliament had officially met, they had a rota of MPs who parked themselves on the bench to prevent others sitting there. But they did not reckon on Skinner’s single-minded determination to keep the place he has occupied for decades.

And it also reports from the Select Committees with “Have select committees become an abuse of power? Discuss…

Two political insiders take up the argument

YES says Jon McLeod

They are literally a mix of slapstick and ritual humiliation. They are the national stocks, in which the villain of the day can be arraigned and pelted with impudent questions to see whether they crack.

NO says Oliver Wright, Whitehall Editor

The transformation of select committees into effective and powerful public watchdogs has been one of the most profound and beneficial changes in decades to our system of parliamentary democracy.

Read the article to see their full assessment

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