Presidential hopeful Tokyo Sexwale concerned about influence of FIFA sponsors

Published: Monday 2nd November 2015 by The News Editor

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FIFA presidential candidate Tokyo Sexwale has claimed that the organisation’s sponsors are exerting too much power by calling for Sepp Blatter to quit immediately as president.

Four of FIFA’s biggest sponsors – Coca-Cola, Visa, Budweiser and McDonald’s – issued simultaneous statements last month calling for Blatter to go immediately after criminal proceedings were opened against him by the Swiss authorities.

Sexwale, the South African former anti-apartheid activist and government minister who is one of seven candidates standing to be Blatter’s successor, said that was a step too far.

He told the South African Sunday Times: “I want to prevent the unintended consequences of sponsor activism within FIFA.

“They did say Blatter must go. If he doesn’t go they withdraw their money. They are correct to have their concerns. It is their money.

“[But] if they can say a president must go they’re close to appointing the next president.

“The president will no longer be chosen by the popular vote. That must not happen because you will be controlled by sponsors.”

Sexwale also brushed off suggestions his previous links to Blatter means he will be under the thumb of the outgoing president.

The 62-year-old mining tycoon, who was imprisoned on Robben Island at the same time as Nelson Mandela, was appointed by Blatter to mediate between the Israeli and Palestinian federations and previously as a member of FIFA’s anti-discrimination committee.

He added: “I walked side by side with one of the greatest leaders of mankind of all time, Nelson Mandela. Many people will be shocked that if you could never be a lackey of Mandela and you’re his comrade, how can you be a lackey of Blatter?

“The test of leadership is to stand my own ground and fight toe-to-toe to the end. The Boers and apartheid leaders know that.

“My own personal history and involvement in activism speaks for me.

“We are going there to win. This country [South Africa] has already won by putting up one of its own. We just have to clinch the victory.”

Published: Monday 2nd November 2015 by The News Editor

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