Sepp Blatter says he will step down as Fifa president in 2015, if he is re-elected for a fourth term in June.
The 75-year-old, who has been head of world football’s governing body since 1998, is being challenged by Asian confederation chief Mohamed Bin Hammam.
“You know I aspire to another four years,” he told a Uefa Congress on Tuesday. “[But] these will be the last years for which I stand as candidate.”
The new president will be elected at a Fifa Congress, which starts on 31 May.
With Bin Hammam vowing to increase Fifa’s decision-making powerand spread its considerable wealth, Blatter is facing his first challenge since Issa Hayatou took him on – and lost – in 2002.
Bin Hammam is also currently attending the Congress for European football’s governing body, Uefa, as the candidates lobby federation presidents for their vote on 1 June in Zurich.
Uefa’s 53 member countries represent more than a quarter of the 208 Fifa voters that Blatter and Bin Hammam will attempt to woo.
“This is a significant announcement,” said the BBC’s Sports Editor, David Bond, from Paris.
“It’s the first time Blatter has said this in this campaign for [the next] presidential candidacy.
“Clearly it’s a message to Uefa president Michel Platini, who would like to take over from Blatter in 2015. Platini is crucial to both candidates.
“This might just help swing Platini’s support behind Blatter.”
Bin Hammam has said he would be interested in cutting a deal with Platini to oust Blatter, but is likely to want eight years in office.
The winner needs a two-thirds majority of valid votes cast in the first ballot, or a majority in the second.
Fifa has set a deadline of 1 April for other candidates to be nominated by a single member federation.
“We are in extra-time,” said Blatter, referring to the time left before the election. “Let’s wait and see what the outcome will be.”
Blatter came under fire following Fifa’s December vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, when allegations of corruption in the bidding process led to two executive committee members being suspended.
While Bin Hammam insists Fifa is not corrupt, he has promised greater transparency if he wins.
Blatter, meanwhile, believes that football’s main challenges in the coming years will be to preserve the identity of clubs, and to fight against illegal betting and doping.
“Football is corrupted by all little devils which exist in the world,” he said.
“Don’t forget that football is a game and that when one is playing, he always tries to cheat a little bit. Together we have the task of bringing together the adventure we have started.
“We want to ensure a better future for our youth.”