ZURICH: The forthcoming FIFA presidential election is not until May of next year but already the world football federation has drawn up a rulebook to help ensure fair play writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
In essence the rules and regulations set out the expectation that candidates should have creditable support from the outset and that they play the election game in line with the code of ethics which was introduced during the reform process.
So far the only declared candidate is FIFA’s former deputy general secretary
An ad hoc committee would be created by the executive committee to ensure candidates stick to the rules. The three members would be the chairman of the disciplinary committee (Claudio Sulser), the chairman of the audit and compliance committee (Domenico Scala) and the chairman of the appeals committee (Bermuda’s Larry Mussendon).
The rulebook acknowledges the reality that t is impossible to expect candidates to step down from their roles within the game pending the election, especially now that the registration deadline is four months ahead of the ballot in FIFA Congress.
In 1998, the then-general secretary Sepp Blatter was forced to step aside by European representatives on the executive committee for fear using the levers of power in his favour.
If the gap between registration and election were a matter of weeks then a removal from duties might be possible. This is not the case now that a four-month lead-up is expected but, clearly, would offer incumbent Sepp Blatter a significant advantage over any possible challengers if he decided to stand again.
Controversy was raised last time around when Blatter promised significant funds out of the FIFA development projects for members of the central and north American confederation.
Over the past few months Blatter has grown increasingly bullish about the likelihood of standing for a fifth term of office.
He will need to mind his p’s and q’s, however, because both the FIFA secretary-general (Jerome Valcke) anf the electio rules committee have the right to call to order any candidate strayng beyond the bounds of priopriety.