Tokyo may be out of Fifa running
The race to replace Sepp Blatter as Fifa president has not yet begun in earnest, but S’Busiso Mseleku discovers that a few candidates who are being touted might not be eligible to stand
Two powerful individuals – Tokyo Sexwale of South Africa and South Korean magnate Chung Moon-joon – might not be eligible to stand for the position of Fifa president.
According to the latest, updated electoral regulations for the Fifa presidency rules: “The candidate shall have played an active role in association football (as a board member, committee member, referee and assistant referee, coach, trainer and any other person responsible for technical, medical or administrative matters in Fifa, a confederation, association, league or club or as a player) for two of the last five years before being proposed as a candidate (cf. article 24 para 1 of the Fifa statutes).
The relevant paragraph in the Fifa statutes also says that a candidate must be proposed by a member association and get at least five nominations. (
As much as Sexwale serves in the Fifa media committee and the global task force against racism and discrimination, the fact that he is not a member of a football association might rule him out.
Chung has announced that he will stand and intends to address the Uefa executive before Tuesday’s Super Cup match in Georgia. However, his only remaining tie with football is his honorary Fifa vice-presidency.
A City Press enquiry to Fifa on whether a candidate must meet all the rules set out in the electoral regulations was not answered by the time of going to press last night.
In an embarrassing twist, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Thursday issued a statement after its meeting in Cairo stating it would not endorse the candidature of Liberia Football Association president Musa Bility.
Bility surprised many when he announced in June that he would enter the race for the Fifa presidency.
At the time, he came out with guns blazing, stating: “Africa is the largest voting bloc in Fifa and we must take the lead to bring football together. We all agree football is facing a difficult moment and it is in difficult moments that great leaders emerge.” Bility, who was once banned by CAF for using information from leaked confidential documents, said: “People know me to be bold, upright, outspoken and highly opinionated. I say it like it is. When it’s not right, I don’t back down and I think that has gained me some respect.” But on Thursday, CAF cut him down to size and issued a terse statement that read: “The CAF executive committee decided unanimously not to give Musa Bility the support he requested.”
City Press has learnt from reliable sources in the organisation that CAF’s long-serving Cameroonian president, Issa Hayatou, was irked by Bility’s decision to announce his candidature before consulting the continental football body.
An irate Hayatou is said to have told the gathering that any African who wanted to stand for the Fifa presidency first needed to inform the organisation before announcing his intentions.
Besides Sexwale, Chung and Bility, other names that have been mentioned in connection with the Fifa presidential race include Uefa president Michel Platini, Jordan Football Association president Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein and former footballers Luís Figo and Zico.
Last month, Platini wrote to all 209 federations that are Fifa members telling them he intended to stand for the presidency.
Figo, who pulled out of the presidential race before the March elections, has yet to show his hand.
Zico announced he would stand and his candidature had been endorsed by the Brazilian Football Confederation.
Prince Ali, who lost by 133-73 votes to Sepp Blatter in March, still has to declare his stance this time around, but has already directed a scathing attack on Platini.
He said: “Football’s fans and players deserve better. Fifa needs a new, independent leadership, untainted by the practices of the past.”
Candidates will have until October 26 to announce whether they plan to stand and have to be nominated by at least five member associations.
The Fifa presidency is the most powerful position in football and the seat of the organisation’s power.
The president supervises the committee’s eight vice-presidents and 15 ordinary members, and casts a deciding vote when necessary.
The Fifa statutes say: “The president also legally represents the organisation, maintains relations between Fifa and the confederations, members, political bodies and international organisations and implements the decisions passed by the congress and the executive committee.”
The elections will take place on February 26 next year.
NO CHANCE, PERHAPS