With Sepp Blat­ter no longer rul­ing the roost at world foot­ball gov­ern­ing body Fifa, who is the most likely can­di­date to step up and take the

Hot seat?

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

Fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of Sepp Blat­ter as Fifa pres­i­dent last week, the most ob­vi­ous ques­tion is: Who will now take over as the most pow­er­ful per­son in world foot­ball? A few names have al­ready been bandied about af­ter Blat­ter’s sud­den res­ig­na­tion on Tues­day, four days af­ter the 79-year-old Swiss was re-elected for a fifth term. He quit as pres­i­dent af­ter 17 years at the helm fol­low­ing a cor­rup­tion cri­sis that has rocked the world foot­ball gov­ern­ing body.

For­mer Fifa vice-pres­i­dent Prince Ali bin al-Hus­sein and Dutch foot­ball fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Michael van Praag of the Nether­lands are favourites to take over the hot seat.

Uefa pres­i­dent Michel Pla­tini, who was a big critic of Blat­ter, may also throw his name in the hat.

Al-Hus­sein, who is the 39-year-old pres­i­dent of the Jor­dan Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion, lost to Blat­ter in last week’s elec­tions af­ter he re­ceived 73 votes from the 209 mem­bers in the first round and con­ceded de­feat be­fore the sec­ond round of vot­ing could com­mence.

Van Praag and for­mer world foot­baller of the year Luís Figo were also in the run­ning to chal­lenge Blat­ter, but pulled out days be­fore the elec­tion to sup­port Al-Hus­sein.

Figo, the for­mer Por­tuguese in­ter­na­tional, has been ad­vo­cat­ing for change in the lead­er­ship of foot­ball and this might be the best time for him to try his luck. It is not clear if he will stand again or not.

Fifa sec­re­tary-gen­eral Jérôme Val­cke has long been seen as Blat­ter’s suc­ces­sor.

Be­fore last week’s rev­e­la­tions about the $10 mil­lion pay­ment from South Africa to then Fifa vice-pres­i­dent Jack Warner, re­port­edly meant for the Di­as­pora Le­gacy Project, Val­cke was among the favourites to take over. He has dis­tanced him­self from the pay­ment, say­ing he was not in­volved in the ini­ti­a­tion, ap­proval or im­ple­men­ta­tion of the le­gacy project.

Con­fed­er­a­tion of African Foot­ball (CAF) pres­i­dent Issa Hay­a­tou’s name has also been men­tioned in pass­ing. The 68-year-old Fifa vice-pres­i­dent, who chal­lenged Blat­ter in 2002, should have the sup­port of CAF mem­bers if he were to stand.

Erst­while Fifa deputy gen­eral sec­re­tary Jérôme Cham­pagne told City Press this week the or­gan­i­sa­tion “needs some­one who clearly un­der­stands and loves the game”.

The 56-year-old French­man was among the ini­tial four can­di­dates for the Fifa pres­i­dency but with­drew af­ter fail­ing to col­lect enough nom­i­na­tions.

Cham­pagne, who has not ruled out the pos­si­bil­ity of vy­ing for the va­cant po­si­tion, said the new pres­i­dent should be above pol­i­tics and strive to unite the or­gan­i­sa­tion. “I have not yet de­cided, but I don’t ex­clude any­thing. “The pres­i­dent must also be some­one who un­der­stands and loves the world, its di­ver­sity and its com­plex­ity. Gov­ern­ing world foot­ball re­quires a clear un­der­stand­ing of glob­al­i­sa­tion and po­lit­i­cal-eco­nomic is­sues. Specif­i­cally be­cause this glob­al­i­sa­tion of foot­ball brought fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­ni­ties but in­creas­ing in­equal­i­ties as well,” added Cham­pagne.

Issa Hay­a­tou

JÉRÔME CHAM­PAGNE

Luís Figo

Jérôme Cham­pagne

Michael van Praag

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