Blatter rival gains support

p28398Sport-1-1

Published: Tuesday 10th March 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Sepp Blatter celebrated his 79th birthday on Tuesday as one of his rivals for the FIFA presidency obtained some high-level support for his bid to be the most powerful person in world football.

Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan has secured statements of support from the King of Bahrain and Prince Sufri Bolkiah, a senior member of the Brunei royal family.

Although neither of the royals will have a vote at the election on May 29 there is a history, particularly in Arab countries, of the ruling family influencing football policy.

That could be important to Prince Ali who has struggled to win support in his own Asian football confederation (AFC) – only one AFC country, his home country Jordan, nominated him to stand.

It is by no means certain however that the Bahrain FA will back Prince Ali despite the King offering his support. AFC president Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa is also from Bahrain and has already given his backing to Blatter.

Furthermore, the leading powerbroker in Olympic sport Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah from Kuwait is also supporting Blatter.

Sheikh Ahmad wields significant influence, especially in Asia as head of the Olympic Council of Asia, and is himself standing for the FIFA executive committee at the end of April.

Prince Ali is understood to be buoyed by the royal backing, and also to have taken heart from last week’s congress of the South American confederation CONMEBOL, where no formal vote to back Blatter was taken.

A report from Jordan’s government new agency stated: “His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalif of Bahrain, on Monday, received HRH Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein accompanied by Interior Minister Hussein Majali, and stressed Bahrain’s support to Prince Ali’s bid for FIFA presidency.”

Blatter has three challengers for the presidency: Prince Ali, Dutch FA president Michael van Praag and former Portugal international Luis Figo.

Last week van Praag said there would be a better chance of victory if there was only one candidate from Europe. He also claimed Figo’s plans for funding national associations would “bankrupt FIFA”.

Meanwhile, Germany’s outgoing FIFA member Theo Zwanziger has reiterated his belief that the 2022 World Cup should be removed from Qatar if the Garcia report into bidding for the tournament flags up rule breaches.

Zwanziger told Bayern 2 radio station: “The best solution would be not to play in Qatar and to rectify this wrong decision. But that can only happen if the report provides sufficient clues that the awarding broke FIFA ethics rules.”

Published: Tuesday 10th March 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Local business search