KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: A pledge from Sepp Blatter to hand Africa more World Cup slots and more seats at FIFA’s top table are key to the confederation’s support in next year’s presidential election.
Blatter, 78-year-old leader of the world football federation since 1998, was confirming formally today that he intends to run for a fifth term next May. He is runaway favourite; critical European federation UEFA has already thrown in the towel.
Before setting out for this week’s FIFA exco meeting in Zurich, CAF president Issa Hayatou rallied his own executive to a cause which Blatter set out during a whistle-stop tour of confederations’ conferences on the eve of the World Cup in Brazil.
CAF, at Hayatou’s bidding, duly produced a Blatter support statement endorsed unanimously by all 18 of its exco members. These included all its FIFA exco members: Hayatou plus Hani Abo Rida (Egypt), Jacques Anouma (Ivory Coast) and Lydia Nsekera (Burundi).
In the statement the key supporting clause is the last of the five:
“Considering Joseph Sepp Blatter, FIFA President’s affirmed willingness to grant Africa a representation equivalent to her membership in FIFA, during competitions as well as in sport and decision-making instances of the world football governing body.”
The room for slippage is wide, however. Only five of the 18 are vote-wielding presidents of their own national associations, leaving rival candidate Jerome Champagne hope that he may pick up a handful of supporters more resistant to Hayatou’s railroading.
Blatter, if he did pursue more African World Cup slots, would face an uphill battle among the wider FIFA family unless he proposes the expansion of the finals beyond its present 32 participants.
Results out on the pitch do not justify such a development. Only one of Africa’s six contenders progressed beyond the group stage in 2010 and none reached the quarters-finals in Brazil??.
In any case, history illustrates CAF’s inability to deliver a unanimous voting block:
In 1998 CAF was one of four confederations to declare ‘unanimous support’ in the presidential election for Sweden’s Lennart Johansson – who was beaten decisively by Blatter. Four years later Hayatou himself was trounced by Blatter after totalling only 59 votes from all across the world.
CAF exco statement
Africa’s Support for the Candidacy of Joseph Sepp Blatter to the Office of FIFA president:
We, members of the Executive Committee of the African Football Confederation and African members of the FIFA Executive Committee, meeting at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 19 and 20September, 2014:
1, Considering the importance Joseph Sepp Blatter has always given to programmes of development in all the functions he held in FIFA;
2, Considering the continuous and ever increasing support, which the 54 African Football Associations benefit from FIFA in varied domains, ranging from training to infrastructural development since his election to the Presidency of FIFA;
3, Considering the important role played by Mr Joseph Sepp Blatter in attributing the organisation of the FIFA world cup in Africa;
4, Considering that the representation of Africans in the various instances of FIFA has improved for a number of years now;
5, Considering Joseph Sepp Blatter, FIFA President’s affirmed willingness to grant Africa a representation equivalent to her membership in FIFA, during competitions as well as in sport and decision-making instances of the world football governing body;
Decide unanimously to give our support to the candidature of Joseph Sepp Blatter to the post of president of FIFA [and] urge all the member associations of the Confederation of African Football to give their vote to candidate Joseph Sepp Blatter at the next elections to the Presidency of FIFA in Zurich in May 2015.
1 – Issa Hayatou (Cameroon) – CAF President
2 – Suketu Patel (Seychelles) – 1st Vice President
3 – Almamy Kabele Camara (Guinea) – 2nd Vice President
4 – Amadou Diakité (Mali) – Member
5 – Adoum Djibrine (Tchad) – Member
6 – Mohamed Raouraoua (Algeria) – Member
7 – Magdi Shams El Din (Sudan) – Member
8 – Tarek Bouchamaoui (Tunisia) – Member
9 – Kalusha Bwalya (Zambia) – Member
10- Kwesi Nyantakyi (Ghana) – Member
11- Constant Omari Selemani (DR Congo) – Member
12- Leodegar Tenga (Tanzania) – Member
13- Ahmad (Madagascar) – Member
14- Anjorin Moucharafou (Benin) – Member
15- Dr Molefi Oliphant (South Africa) – Associate Member
16- Hani Abo Rida (Egypt) – FIFA Executive Committee Member
17- Jacques Anouma (Côte d’Ivoire) – FIFA Executive Committee Member
18- Lydia Nsekera (Burundi) – FIFA Executive Committee Member
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