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

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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.

PHOTO: EL­IZ­A­BETH SE­JAKE

NO CHANCE, PER­HAPS

Tokyo Sexwale

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