Soccer

Blatter woos African voters

2011-05-20 14:31
Sepp Blatter (AP)

Johannesburg - FIFA president Sepp Blatter arrived on Friday to meet African football chiefs as his campaign for another four-year term moves into overdrive.

The 75-year-old Blatter is slugging it out with Qatari billionaire Mohamed bin Hammam, 13 years his junior, for the right to rule the international football kingdom over the coming four years.

A secret June 1 ballot at FIFA headquarters in Zurich in which each of 208 member states has one vote will determine whether Blatter wins a fourth term or Hammam becomes the first president from Asia.

There are 53 African votes up for grabs and many international observers believe the continent could hold the key to a race Blatter believes he "cannot lose" and Hammam rates a "50-50" duel.

Blatter secured the majority of African votes when he shocked Swede Lennart Johansson in Paris 13 years ago despite Cairo-based continental governing body CAF supporting the veteran European.

And when CAF president Issa Hayatou of Cameroon took on Blatter in South Korea four years later, he suffered a resounding defeat with many African delegates voting against their boss.

Blatter was elected for a third term unopposed and must now defeat the man who has ruled Asia since 2002 and backed the Swiss when he entered the ring against Johansson.

Hayatou and his CAF executive supported Blatter last Monday for another term, but it was merely a symbolic gesture as the African governing body does not have a vote and cannot dictate to its members.

While the Swiss is revered by many Africans for keeping a long-time promise and bringing the World Cup to the continent last year, money talks on a land mass where most football associations struggle financially.

Hammam has promised to double the yearly FIFA grant for countries to 500 000 dollars if elected and raise the costs-ceiling for special projects from 400 000 dollars to one million.

Officials from about 40 countries are expected in upscale Johannesburg suburb Sandton this weekend, offering Blatter a chance to get up close and personal in his quest for votes.

Among those he is expected to meet are regional football heavyweights Suketu Patel (south), Leodegar Tenga (east), Iya Mohammed (centre) and Aka Malan (west) while no officials from the north are attending.

Blatter could give the west special attention as there have been rumblings of discontent from the large football region with Liberia saying it will ignore the pro-Blatter CAF line and back Hammam instead.

"My decision to support the candidacy of Bin Hammam remains unwavering in spite of the CAF decision," Liberian Football Association president Musa Bility told reporters.

"Blatter has had his reasonable share of power at FIFA, having served as president for 13 years. Besides, Bin Hammam offers a better platform when it comes to football development in Liberia."


Read more on:    fifa  |  mohamed bin hammam  |  sepp blatter
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Wenger happy at duo's return

2014-04-21 14:00

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
Vote

Which team do you think will win the English Premiership?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.