DISCUSSION: Bin Hammam Challenges Blatter: Thoughts?

Hi everyone,
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Mohamed Bin Hammam has confirmed that he will contest FIFA chief Sepp Blatter’s campaign for a fourth consecutive term as the president of world soccer’s governing body. Bin Hammam’s challenge will be the first that Blatter has faced for his presidency in nearly a decade after the Qatari confirmed that he would stand against the Swiss incumbent in the June 1 elections.

Bin Hammam’s announcement draws a close to months of speculation after stating at a press conference at the AFC’s Kuala Lumpur headquarters that he would seek to end Blatter’s 13-year reign. Blatter has not been challenged since 2002, when he defeated Confederation of African Football president Issa Hayatou by 139 votes to 56.

The challenger stated: “Today after careful study, consultation and consideration, armed with my love and passion for football, believing that our game is about fair competition, I have decided to contest.”

The head of the AFC has been outspoken in his criticism of FIFA’s practices since his country secured the hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup in early December and despite acknowledging Blatter’s contributions, Bin Hammam added that it was time for “new faces, new blood”.

He continued: “There is a time limit for everyone. 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 also those people are going to support me.”

Bin Hammam proposed that the 24-man FIFA executive committee, which was hit by scandal in the build-up to the December 2 vote on the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments, should be replaced by a 41-member board. He also said he would hope to set up a new transparency committee and spread FIFA’s income more evenly across the globe.

Blatter told reporters on Thursday: “I still feel full of energy and I’ve not yet finished my work in FIFA. I’m now in the 13th year of my presidency, and the 36th year working within FIFA, so I’m available to the congress. If there is competition there is competition. I have support from different Asian associations, but I must have the support of the whole FIFA family.” [Source: I Sport Connect].

What do you guys think?
Karl Lusbec





4 thoughts on “DISCUSSION: Bin Hammam Challenges Blatter: Thoughts?

  1. Hi Karl!

    Generally I think that Mr. Blatter is far behind his prime time. All the times when he acted sentimentally (standing against the eagle’s eye, celebrating the world becoming one and saving the whole universe while WC 2010) were showing me that he shall not be the head of world’s football. Full of ridiculous ideas like the Silver goal and so on… Excuse me? Are we still serious?
    Second related fact is that if we have a look around the executive commitee, two of three eldest among the members are those with the highest rankings (president and senior vice-president). This would be great in a tribal society but…
    Players like Messi and Ronaldo are showing us that the football is getting fast forward on the pitch. Managers like Mourinho and Wenger are showing us, how to intensify the motion from the bench. And, in my opinion, the same principle should be applied in the executive. (The only occupation where carrying seven or even eight crosses on your back is considered an advantage is being a Pope.) We need more men like Platini and even Bin Hammam.

    Which leads me to our next president. I would start with several
    reasons why he will win the election.
    1) while bringing WC to Qatar, he has already reached fine contacts among the influential members of international community, thus is able to get enough people on his side.
    2) if his lobbying abilities are great enough to convince (!) the commonwealth I mentioned afore to vote for Qatar, I would consider it a reasonable evidence of his ability to lead the executive board of FIFA in the future.

    Bribing… It will not stop that soon, but it can get smaller in an environment lead by a guy with better sense of business, whom I consider Bin Hammam.

    What do you say :)?


  2. You don’t like Blatter that much do you? 🙂

    I think you got good points. My take is that FIFA is a more global organisation than the United Nations if we look at the amount of affiliates FIFA has.
    From that perspective, I think Presidents should not have more than 2 terms. Candidates will have chances to come up with new and fresh ideas to change things, and move football forward.


  3. The ultimate problem is the almost complete absence of alternatives to Blatter. Is Bin Hammam the person to anything in the way of substantive chage? I have my reservations. He has been tainted by the allegations of corruptions surrounding Qatar’s successful World Cup bid, and moreover represents the Fifa establishment almost as strongly as Blatter does, meaning that his interests will lie in maintaining the status quo. While I think it would be nice to have a president from the Asian confederation, I don’t know that Bin Hammam will do anything to introduce any transparency into Fifa’s arcane system. Even if he were to be elected, which I think would be an extremely unlikely turn of events, I don’t imagine his tenure being even modestly revolutionary.


  4. You made a good point on the lack of competition for the FIFA president job. The question is also whether the FIFA setup encourages applicants. A “Sports Illustrated” journalist Grant Whal ran for the presidency, but he did not get the federations support he needed. Check out this link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/9402310.stm

    As for Bin Hammam, yes he is part of the FIFA establishment, and we could question his willingness to change things at FIFA, but again, you’re right to point out that his chances to win are very slim.


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