KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- South African freedom fighter turned businessman Tokyo Sexwale is still weighing up whether to stand for the presidency of world football federation FIFA.

Sexwale chairs the new monitoring committee charged with the ultimate diplomatic sports challenge of trying to resolve the footballing stand-off between Palestine and Israel.

Tokyo Sexwale . . . was imprisoned with Nelson Mendela on Robben Island

On Wednesday Sexwale, a close friend of the late Nelson Mandela, oversaw the first meeting of the committee which agreed which delegates should attend subsequent discussions and negotiations.

Afterwards he expressed his cautious satisfaction with the meeting and reiterated that he was still considering whether he should become  a candidate to succeed Sepp Blatter when the 79-yer-old Swiss steps down next February 26.

Other priorities

In a conference call with the international news agencies Sexwale said: :”I will make my mind very, very clear in due course but obviously we are headed for a situation where FIFA is looking forward to have a new president and I will leave the matter there.

“I am just applying my mind and I will make it up in due course, my focus now is working for FIFA.

“I am honoured by the fact that FIFA has asked me to play a role in its structures. FIFA has given me lots of responsibilities. I am weighting all options.

He added: “The question does not arise at this stage of what my final decision will be in October.”

Candidates must present at least five written nominations by a registration deadline of October 26, four months before the extraordinary ekective congress. They must also have been serving in football in an official role for two of the past five years. Sexwale meets the latter criterion as a special adviser to FIFA’s anti-discrimination task force since the summer of 2013.


Already declared as contenders are Michel Platini, the French president of European federation UEFA, and Chung Mong-joon, the South Korean former Asian vice-president of FIFA.

Reflecting on the Palestine-Israel task, Sexwale said: “I’m feeling confident after seeing the team spirit as both associations have confirmed their intention to promote dialogue.

“As we have witnessed in my home country South Africa, I’m convinced that here too we’ll bring people together through the power of sport.”