Who will the next FIFA boss be?

2015-10-27 11:59
Tokyo Sexwale has been tipped as a candidate for the Fifa presidency. PHOTO: Markus Schreiber

Cape Town - It contains uncannily and ironically many of the undertones of Agatha Christie's  best-selling mystery novel about the 10 "Little Indians" who were eliminated one by one - until there was one.

Some ambitious candidates have emerged to replace the mafia-like, Cappi di Tutti of world soccer, Sepp Blatter, as the president of now-tainted FIFA - and already a couple of dubious individuals have been eliminated or appear effectively out of the running.

The big question, of course, is who will be the last one remaining and entrusted with the task of restoring FIFA's image after elections are held in February next year?

To get the ball rolling, so to speak, herein are the pretenders to the throne who have initially put their hat into the presidential race.

Initially the outright favourite was Michel Platini, but then the UEFA president and legendary France footballer's prospects received a massive blow with the disclosure that he had received a questionable payment of over R20-million from Blatter in 2011.

Platini angrily proclaims his innocence and says the money was for services rendered to FIFA as a consultant and advisor from 1998 to 2001. But along with Blatter he has now been suspended by FIFA's ethics committee for 90 days and no explanation has been rendered as to why 10 years or so should have been elapsed before the payment was made.

The net outcome is that even Platini's position as a viable candidate has come into question and the powerful UEFA confederation have seemingly added their secretary-general, Gianni Infantino, as an alternative choice.

Asian president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa had endorsed Platini as his confederation's preferred choice, but in view of the latest development regarding the Frenchman has made himself a candidate with some considerable clout.

One of the most respected candidates is Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, who was one of the few around to demonstrate the courage and integrity to take on Blatter before the FIFA bubble burst - and opposed the autocratic president in the last elections.

Former FIFA head of communications and promotions Jerome Champagne says he has the experience and know-how to become president.

Blatter says Champagne was utterly exposed when he fired him, but being fired by Blatter could be something in his favour.

And from a South African perspective, no candidate is more talked-about than anti-apartheid activist, ANC politician and reputed billionaire Tokyo Sexwale.

Sexwale has less experience as a football administrator than most of the other candidates. But he does have a certain charisma and throwing the well-worn Madiba  card onto the table could  well be a factor in his favour.

Against this, Sexwale will have to distance himself from the allegations that SAFA paid the notorious Jack Warner a R120-million bribe to secure votes for staging the 2010 World Cup.

South Korean president and former FIFA vice-president  Chung Mong-Joon, who heads the giant Hyundai motor empire, appeared to be equipped to become FIFA president following his outspoken criticsm of Blatter and promises to rid the world body of all traces of corruption.

But he has since been banned from all soccer activities for six years by FIFA's ethics committee for bribery issues of his own - which Mong-Joon claims is a cynical act of revenge on the part of the world body.

Liberian president Musa Bility claims he has substantial support from Africa to become FIFA president, but CAF, in contrast, have declined to name him as the continent's candidate.

David Nakhid, a former Trinidad footballer, is regarded as a lightweight choice for the FIFA presidency.

And Blatter himself has come up with an outsider choice in Nigerian business tycoon and state governor Orji Uzor Kalu - although no-one endorsed by Blatter is likely to have much chance.

So it's an entirely open and unpredictable race, with more than a few endorsing the view that you would have expected a more appealing and exciting group of candidates than the current "10 Little Indian" frontrunners.

Read more on:    fifa  |  sepp blatter  |  soccer


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