KUALA LUMPUR - AFC chief Mohamed Bin
Hammam on Friday launched his bid to unseat Sepp Blatter as head
of global football with a campaign built on transparency and
The 61-year-old Qatari ended weeks of speculation with
confirmation of his move at the Asian Football Confederation
(AFC) headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.
"After careful consideration... I have decided to contest in
the FIFA presidential elections on June 1 at the FIFA congress,
Bin Hammam told massed reporters.
"My chances, I would say, are 50-50. Sepp Blatter is a very
experienced person and has made a significant contribution to
the development of the game. The world knows him very well."
Blatter, 75, who is seeking a fourth term as head of FIFA,
and Bin Hammam will stand in an election at the two-day FIFA
Congress in Zurich starting on May 31.
"Blatter has worked very hard to develop the game, he did
his best and he has made a number of changes since he came to
the game, but change is always needed," Bin Hammam said.
"There is always a time limit for everything and now is the
time for new faces, new blood, new air too. This is my message
and I hope the voters are going to address these things."
Bin Hammam, who was sworn in unopposed for a third and final
four-year term as AFC head in January, is hoping to become the
ninth president of FIFA and the first from Asia.
Dressed in a sharp dark suit he spoke with poise as he
delivered a manifesto which centered on distributing power more
evenly across FIFA's 208 members and said he would ask bigger
nations to offer more help to the less privileged.
"I will always put into consideration the need and the
requirement of every member association to have more technical
and financial support to enable them to close the gap between
their nations and those of the advanced football nations."
The Qatari promised to double donations to member
associations and to increase the size of, and rebrand, the
executive committee to ensure more votes for all confederations
after criticising much of FIFA's administration.
"The way I see FIFA functioning today, it is too
bureaucratic and very much centralised and its efficiency is in
doubt in so many areas, especially when it comes to the
technical and legal matters," he said, vowing to address this.
The FIFA executive committee would be called the FIFA board
and have 41 members, including the president, with UEFA, CAF and
AFC enjoying four more seats each, CONCACAF three more, and
CONMEBOL and Oceania one more.
"These are my own beliefs but these things are very much
influenced by the view of the public," the Qatari told Reuters
in an interview after his announcement.
The move to give more seats to member confederations,
especially his own continet of Asia where he does not hold total
support, and double donations to member associations are
eye-catching proposals which could sway support.
"I hope that Asia is going to be united behind me, but also
the other confederations where i enjoy a lot of friendship and
relationships, I hope these people are going to support me," Bin
Bin Hammam also made it clear he would support the
introduction of goal line technology, something FIFA has so far
dragged its feet on, if his bid for the top job was successful
and said he would be in favour of introducing two more officials
behind the goals.
"I will support the goalline technology and I will support
the additional two assistants behind the goals as proposed by
UEFA president Michel Platini."
The AFC president, who played an influential role in
securing the 2022 World Cup for Qatar, has become synonymous
with the phrase "the future is Asia" but was quick to joke with
Reuters that that phrase could soon become redundant were he to
be successful in this bid.
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