It’s decision time for FIFA to vote on “critical” reforms and against corruption after all five FIFA presidential candidates on Thursday lobbied for last minutes votes in Zurich, Switzerland.
UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino, South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale, FIFA Vice President for Asia, Prince bin -al-Hussein of Jordan, Asian Football Confederation President, Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Former FIFA Deputy General Secretary, Jerome Champagne, one of these men will replace Sepp Blatter.
What started in a dawn raid at a Swiss luxurious hotel, nine months ago turned out to be the world football’s governing body worst corruption scandal in history.
In the end, Sepp Blatter was thrown out of the sport by the ethics committee he established.
His 18 year term ends officially this Friday and he will not be present at the congress since the appeal against his 8 year ban was rejected.
“FIFA’s problem is almost not who leads it, it’s how FIFA itself works going forward and how it controls itself. This is why on Friday, more important than the identity of the next president, is getting the reform package voted through because that will define restrictions on the president. Everything that outsiders have really been praying for,” said Keir Radnedge, commentator on the politics of football.
Righting the wrong
Top on the list of priorities for who ever wins Friday’s election will be no doubt reforming the organization and regaining trust.The candidates have made that clear as well and given some assurances of doing just that.
Asia’s Prince bin -al-Hussein of Jordan
“I think we have to restore first of all confidence, from our sponsors, from our fans, worldwide. In order to do so we have to be open, we have to be transparent, we have to bring this organisation into the 21st century and have good practice, and do it not in words but in real action”.
South African Businessman Tokyo Sexwale
“FIFA is a house broken and needs to be repaired. You’ll hear more when I speak tomorrow on stage so I don’t want to be asked ‘whether you are coming or not?’, ‘Are you going to be on stage or not?’. You’ll hear more; FIFA is a broken house, football is not broken…Our house and FIFA, and I’ve been with FIFA for 11 years, needs to repair the damage done to the brand. It’s severe and very painful…”
AFC President, Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa
My primary objective is to reform,restructure and reorganise FIFAtop-down, to once again become what its founders set it out to be: a service organisation of the highest moral and ethical standards,solely and exclusively dedicated to our sport and determined to deliver professionally sound development.
UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino
“Somethings needs to be done. Reforms need to be implemented. they need to be voted first and then they have to be implemented…if we don’t do something about it , to restore the image of FIFA and the reputation of FIFA – and to increase the development of football in the world- then I see no future for FIFA.
Former FIFA Deputy General Secretary Jerome Champagne
“If you look at what has happened, and I’m sure you’ve read the document by the U.S. Department of Justice, it’s mostly a scandal of two confederations, but once again in a democracy the presumption of innocence is very important. You know my position, I’ve said that on and on, the members of the EXCO (Executive Committee) are FIFA officials but they are there because they represent the confederations.”
209 FA Associations make up membership of FIFA and each has one vote. The Executive Committee has urged it members to approve the “critical” reforms proposed for the federation’s future.
This includes term limits for top officials and disclosure of their earnings.
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) February 25, 2016
Sepp Blatter in an interview when asked if FIFA was corrupt, responded:
“No, it is with people. The institution FIFA is not corrupt.”
Many football fanatics, and even the world football’s governing body itself is expecting Friday’s congress to bring about some change in the organisation.
Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Gianni Infantino are reported to be the favourites to replace Blatter.
Tokyo Sexwale is not Africa’s choice and is not considered a favourite either, even though he says he will persist till the end.
But Sepp Blatter’s influence on the organization some believe will not go away that easily.
“He’s been general secretary and then president over the last 40 years, so he has had an impact on the organization. You see the work of FIFA and the member associations here in the museum, so you see the result of his work. It’s not about personalities here in the museum; it’s really about the result of the work of FIFA,” Managing Director, FIFA World Football Museum Stefan Jost said.
Whoever wins Friday’s election is expected to redeem FIFA’s tattered credibilty and image.