New soc­cer boss has a big task in store

CityPress - - Sport - S’BUSISO MSELEKU sm­se­leku@city­

No date has been as ea­gerly an­tic­i­pated as Fe­bru­ary 26 2016 in the 111 years of the Fed­er­a­tion of In­ter­na­tional Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tions (Fifa).

This is the date on which the or­gan­i­sa­tion is sched­uled to start a new life un­der a new pres­i­dent.

Vy­ing for the job va­cated by Sepp Blat­ter af­ter a 17-year reign are five can­di­dates: South African businessman/politi­cian Tokyo Sexwale; Prince Ali Bin al-Hus­sein of Jor­dan; for­mer French diplo­mat Jérôme Cham­pagne; Uefa gen­eral sec­re­tary Gianni In­fantino and Sheikh Sal­man Bin Ibrahim alKhal­ifa of Bahrain. The win­ner will need at least 105 votes.

The man who takes over the reins will face not only the her­culean task of re­build­ing Fifa’s im­age, but will have to unite the 209 mem­ber as­so­ci­a­tions and re­store them to be­ing a tight “foot­ball fam­ily”.

The new pres­i­dent will also have to re-es­tab­lish staff con­fi­dence in the or­gan­i­sa­tion and boost morale.

For this, Fifa needs a states­man in the mould of South Africa’s first demo­crat­i­cally elected pres­i­dent, the late Nel­son Man­dela.

One of the pos­i­tives is that the in­cum­bent will in­herit a fi­nan­cially healthy or­gan­i­sa­tion, as Fifa’s lat­est re­port for the 2011 to 2014 pe­riod, which in­cor­po­rated the World Cup in Brazil, saw it re­port­ing $5.72 bil­lion (R88.5 bil­lion) in rev­enue. They recorded a $338 mil­lion profit for the pe­riod.

Fifa has re­serves of $1.52 bil­lion, an amount that has helped it main­tain its in­de­pen­dence and re­main a sus­tain­able en­tity.

This is thanks to money pumped in by global spon­sors and part­ners. Its main spon­sors are Adi­das, Co­caCola, Gazprom, Hyundai and Kia Mo­tors, Visa and Bud­weiser.

The new­comer will have to en­sure th­ese com­pa­nies – who have not re­mained un­tainted by the lat­est scan­dals – not only stay with Fifa but strengthen their re­la­tion­ships.

The new pres­i­dent will also need to en­sure Fifa keeps to its key and main rev­enue streams – the sale of tele­vi­sion rights for the World Cup and their as­so­ci­ated mar­ket­ing rights.

Th­ese have been tainted by re­ports of the shenani­gans that went on dur­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions and the sign­ing of such deals. More trans­parency will be re­quired in fu­ture.

Though no one owns Fifa, the pres­i­dent is the driv­ing force and he will need to en­sure that the 72% of its money the or­gan­i­sa­tion has been in­vest­ing in foot­ball de­vel­op­ment is main­tained, if not in­creased.

An­other point that will have to be de­bated and agreed on by the mem­ber as­so­ci­a­tions will be whether Fifa re­mains a body gov­erned by Swiss law. This has come un­der crit­i­cism from scep­tics who feel that loop­holes have al­lowed cor­rup­tion and ma­nip­u­la­tion to creep in.

The in­com­ing pres­i­dent will have to en­sure that the re­form com­mit­tee’s rec­om­men­da­tions (see box) are adopted and im­ple­mented. He will also need to add to the ever-grow­ing calls for Michael J Gar­cia’s full re­port on al­leged bribery and cor­rup­tion dur­ing bid­ding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to be pub­lished. Prince Ali was the lat­est to add his voice to th­ese calls last Sun­day.

The elec­tion of ei­ther Sexwale, the prince or the sheikh will en­sure that the or­gan­i­sa­tion is steered by only its sec­ond boss in its history from out­side Europe.

Sheikh Sal­man Bin Ibrahim alKhal­ifa of Bahrain

Prince Ali Bin al-Hus­sein of


Gianni In­fantino

Tokyo Sexwale

Jérôme Cham­pagne

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