South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale presented his pitch on his FIFA presidency bid on Saturday, alongside his French counterpart Jerome Champagne. The two candidates presented their reform battle plan for the scandal-hit FIFA before journalists in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“The reason we have put ourselves up as candidates is because we feel that the brand is damaged and things need to be done not in the same old way, in a different way,” Sexwale told the news conference.
62-year-old Sexwale is a businessman and politician in South Africa, who also sat on the organising committee of the 2010 South Africa World Cup and led his country’s team in the now defunct A1 GP motor racing series.
..I am now on Twitter! I am the Minister of Human Settlements in South Africa…— Tokyo Sexwale (@SexwaleTokyo) 17 Mars 2011
He has become an ardent proponent of anti-racism in the game, once likening racism in football to “a monster that is trying to infiltrate sporting fields”.
“I think the time for diversity has arrived,” he continued. “If Jerome or anybody of colour opposite to myself becomes president we will work with that person, but I’m here. Not to keep quiet like a slave and pretend these things are not happening, they are happening. If it was five years maybe we can live with that, a century? Let’s talk.”
On his part, Champagne declared himself as a candiate against Sepp Blatter for the presidency in 2015 but withdrew when he did not get enough votes. After Blatter stood down later in 2015, Champagne, formerly a FIFA executive member, declared himself a candidate once again.
“I do believe that with the experience I have, I can lead FIFA because I served the football and I served the federation and it’s not a matter of origin, it’s a matter of experience, it’s a matter of knowing exactly how to manange a structure. To know exactly what can be kept, development programmes that we need to increase, women’s football we need to increase, taking the FIFA competition everywhere but because I was pushed out of FIFA by a coalition of people who are all suspended today – I know exactly what needs to be changed and that is the experience that I will provide,” he said.
Both men worked together on South Africa’s successful bid for the 2010 World Cup, and spoke of their regard for each other, but both have struggled for support in February’s election.
There are three other candidates: Jordanian royal Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain and Gianni Infantino, UEFA general secretary. UEFA’s president Michel Platini cannot stand as he has been suspended by FIFA, a decision he is seeking to overturn.