Tokyo Sexwale for Fifa president?

2015-07-26 16:10
Tokyo Sexwale has been tipped as a candidate for the Fifa presidency. PHOTO: Markus Schreiber

Fifa president Sepp Blatter was showered with banknotes by a notorious prankster during a press conference in Zurich. Watch.

South African businessman Tokyo Sexwale’s name was this week thrown into the hat by sections of the European media as a possible candidate to replace Sepp Blatter as Fifa president on February 26.

Speculative reports from the Press Association and the UK’s Guardian newspaper stated that Sexwale would have a “fair to slim” chance of running for the top Fifa post.

The reports went further to say he “would be a strong choice from Africa, but might struggle to gain support from other confederations”.

However, a few highly placed sources contacted by City Press confided that Sexwale’s name might have been thrown in as a decoy to deflect attention from serious contenders.

They said Europe has had a stranglehold on the organisation since its formation in 1904. With Africa being as divided as it was in 2004, when none of the four continental representatives voted for South Africa to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the sources said it would be quite difficult for “an outsider” to come in.

“Unless members from the developing world can unite and say, ‘We are tired of being bullied and dictated to by Europe’ the status quo will continue,” said one source.

Before this, names that had been bandied about were those of Uefa president Michel Platini, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan who failed in a bid to replace Blatter in May, Portuguese football legend Luís Figo, former Fifa deputy secretary-general Jerome Champagne, Liberian Football Association president Musa Bility and former Brazil international Zico.

When contacted yesterday Sexwale, who was in Moscow, Russia, for last night’s 2018 Fifa World Cup draw, refused to comment on the speculation.

Sexwale spent the week at Fifa’s Zurich headquarters attending various subcommittee meetings before going to Russia.

He was recently appointed by Fifa to lead a monitoring committee to oversee issues affecting the development of football in Palestine.

The committee was established based on the decision by the 65th Fifa congress in May this year after the Palestine Football Association withdrew its proposal for suspension of the Israel Football Association.

Sexwale is expected to work with representatives from Israel and Palestine to address issues that will lead to an understanding between the two football organisations.

He has recently shifted his focus from South African politics to his newly founded Global Watch: Say No to Racism-Discrimination in all Sport, a joint venture with the Nelson Mandela and Qatari foundations.

He also serves on Fifa’s media committee and the global task force against racism and discrimination.

Sexwale was a member of the SA 2006 Fifa World Cup bid committee, the 2010 version and the 2010 Fifa World Cup Local Organising Committee.

Fifa has been mired in controversy for a while after allegations of corruption and bribery on the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

A number of top Fifa officials were arrested by Swiss law enforcement officers as part of an ongoing FBI investigation in May.

Since then, Blatter has announced his intention to step down. This was followed by the decision to hold an extraordinary congress on February 26 next year where his successor will be elected.

On Friday, Blatter’s long-serving right-hand man, Fifa secretary-general Jérôme Valcke, said he would leave once the presidential successor had been elected.

“Whoever becomes the new Fifa president should have a new secretary-general because it’s the most important relationship,” Valcke said in St Petersburg ahead of last night’s draw.

Answering a direct question, he said: “I have not seen anything which is related to any wrongdoing by the Fifa administration regarding any commercial aspect of Fifa during this period. So what you are asking me, if I am responsible for what has happened this time, I don’t think I am really involved. I don’t think I have anything to do in this case.”

Read more on:    fifa  |  tokyo sexwale


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