Blatter set for Asian boost

2015-04-29 10:33
Sepp Blatter(AFP)

Manama - FIFA chief Sepp Blatter will take a big step towards a fifth term in office when he watches Asia's football boss, a key ally, seal re-election unopposed on Thursday.

Just four weeks before FIFA's presidential vote, Blatter can shore up crucial Asian support when he addresses the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) congress in Bahrain.

It is likely to be a triumphant trip for the 79-year-old, with AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa, a vocal supporter, set to be handed a fresh, four-year term.

Kuwaiti powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad al Fahad Al Sabah, another Blatter ally, also looks likely to win one of three seats on FIFA's executive committee which are up for grabs.

Meanwhile Blatter's presidential rival Prince Ali bin al Hussein will lose his post as a FIFA vice president, which is being absorbed into the Asian leader's job title.

Blatter has already been assured of African support for the May 29 FIFA poll, and with Asia's 46 votes he would be all but at the finish line.

His rivals - Jordan's Prince Ali, Dutchman Michael van Praag and former galactico Luis Figo - face a last-minute scramble for support ahead of the ballot in Zurich.

Shaikh Salman will tighten what is becoming an iron grip on Asian football when his first full term is rubber-stamped by the congress in his home country of Bahrain.

He swept to power in 2013 promising a clean slate after his predecessor Mohamed bin Hammam was banned from football mid-term over alleged bribery and financial wrongdoing.

The past could still haunt the AFC, however, after general secretary Alex Soosay faced accusations related to the former regime under disgraced Qatari bin Hammam.

According to a video interview seen by a Malaysian newspaper, an AFC employee said Soosay asked him to tamper with or destroy documents during an investigation.

No comment was immediately available from Soosay, although the report said he had dismissed the video as a smear attempt.

The AFC is ditching tradition by holding the congress in Shaikh Salman's stronghold of Manama rather than the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, where the body is based.

It also done away with its usual executive committee meeting the day before the congress, meaning proceedings will focus squarely on voting.

Five AFC vice presidents will be decided, plus 11 executive committee members. Australia's Moya Dodd and Afghan Zohra Mehri are among five mandatory female exco appointments.

But the bigger picture is Asia's support for Blatter, which looks set to help keep him at the head of world football despite a series of controversies, notably over Qatar's hosting of the 2022 World Cup.

Read more on:    fifa  |  sepp blatter  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy 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
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Who was the best summer signing in the EPL?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

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