After years of running FIFA like a third-world dictatorship, President Sepp Blatter will finally face some official opposition when Mohamed Bin Hammam faces him in the next round of elections on June 1. Bin Hammam, like most soccer fans around the world, claims there hasn’t been any development in the sport and it’s at a standstill due to Blatter’s leadership over the past 13 years.
The 61-year-old Bin Hammam from Qatar used to be one of Blatter’s biggest allies, but he’s now opened his eyes to the way the 75-year-old Blatter has run the game into the ground. The challenger has promised voters that FIFA will become more transparent and accountable and will introduce open voting during for World Cup bidding instead of secret votes. He also said the maximum length of a FIFA presidency should be eight years.
Blatter actually owes a lot to his opponent as Bin Hammam, who is the chairman of the Asian confederation, supported him during bitter election campaigns in both 1998 and 2002. But even though he’s out for his head, Bin Hammam said he doesn’t regret supporting Blatter in the past, but enough’s enough and it’s time for a change.
Bin Hammam admits he’s not going to be the saviour of soccer, but he hasn’t seen any positive changes in the sport over the last few years. He said the only time FIFA is in the news these days is when the soccer organization’s being ripped apart by angry fans and soccer clubs and their executives.
It’ll be hard for Bin Hammam to garner votes from the UEFA countries though as Blatter is in bed with UEFA President Michel Platini and it’s believed Blatter is just trying to hold onto power long enough until Platini takes over FIFA in 2015.
But that could soon change as several UEFA nations such as England are becoming increasingly impatient with Platini and Blatter over their stubbornness over issues such as video replay. Most soccer organizations are all for the introduction of video technology while Blatter and Platini continue to oppose it for some reason.
The English FA is still seething over the recent voting for the upcoming World Cups in 2018 and 2022 that were awarded to Russia and Qatar. The words FIFA and corruption go hand in hand these days and it’s believed England will support anybody other than Blatter and Platini.
In many fans eyes, FIFA can’t sink any lower, especially after two of its members were banned following a sting operation by the British newspaper the Sunday Times. The newspaper caught the FIFA delegates from Nigeria and Tahiti asking for bribes in exchange for their 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes. It would have been easy for the delegates to get away with it as World Cup voting is done in secrecy, meaning nobody knows which countries delegates support who.
It looks like Bin Hammam has the support of millions of fans around the world. But they’d probably support Jack the Ripper if he was running. They just want to see the backside of Blatter and don’t care who replaces him. The problem is, it’s probably not going to happen until Blatter’s carried away in a wooden box.