Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 3rd 2015 Contents A59
Thursday, September 3, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The men from Africa who say
they want to be Fifa president
may all be little-known and
have only a remote chance of
securing football s most impor-
tant job, but the continent will
still play a big role in who suc-
ceeds Sepp Blatter.
Conceding his bid may be a
long shot, former Nigeria player
Segun Odegbami was the latest
African to declare his intention
to stand in next year s Fifa pres-
"The choice of an African,
specifically a Nigerian, may look
far-fetched in this pursuit," the
63-year-old Odegbami said in
a statement published in the
Nigerian media on Wednesday.
"However, a closer scrutiny of
the international football envi-
ronment reveals the real possi-
bility of such change."
Odegbami was a forward for
Nigeria in the late 1970s and
early 1980s and is a soccer hero
at home. He joined Liberia Foot-
ball Association President Musa
Bility and another Nigerian, for-
mer state governor Orji Uzor
Kalu, as Africans saying they
want to be on the Fifa presiden-
tial ballot on February 26.
None of them appear to be
serious challengers for the top
job in the world s biggest sport.
South African businessman
Tokyo Sexwale, an apartheid-
era political prisoner who is now
a member of Fifa s anti-discrim-
ination task force, is considering
whether to enter the race and
may carry more weight at Fifa.
Prospective candidates must
be nominated by at least five
national football federations by
October 26 and pass integrity
checks to get on the ballot.
Blatter is stepping down amid
American and Swiss investiga-
tions into long-running corrup-
tion at the world body, which
has seen top soccer officials
arrested and facing extradition
to the United States.
While UEFA president Michel
Platini is the favorite to succeed
his former mentor Blatter, the
man considered Africa s
strongest candidate is unlikely
to contest the election. African
soccer head and senior Fifa Vice
President Issa Hayatou of
Cameroon has not announced
any intention to run and appears
unwilling to enter a presidential
race again after losing heavily
to Blatter in 2002.
Instead, the influence of the
experienced, longtime Confed-
eration of African Football pres-
ident might be felt in who he
and the 54 African countries
under his control---the largest
continental voting bloc in Fifa---
It may not even be an African
and CAF might choose an Asian
candidate to counter the Euro-
pean influence of Platini.
Liberia s Bility, previously a
critic of Hayatou, paid for that
criticism when he failed last
month to gain the support of
his fellow Africans at CAF s
executive committee meeting in
"To preserve the interests and
unity of African football, it was
agreed that Africa will give time
to explore all options," CAF said,
announcing it had unanimously
decided not to back Bility.
CAF also scheduled its next
executive committee meeting
for October 27, the day after
Fifa s presidential nominations
close, hinting that the African
body might not come out pub-
licly in support of anyone.
But behind the scenes, Hay-
atou will likely be at work look-
ing for a winner to back.
Odegbami didn t address
whether he had the required
support from five countries.
Kalu, the former state governor,
is chairman of a Nigerian con-
sortium with interests in oil and
gas, banking and media and
publishing. He has said little
about any plans for Fifa.
South Africa s Sexwale could
be the best candidate.
Currently on a mission of
football diplomacy for Blatter in
Israel and Palestine, Sexwale also
has strong business and political
credentials. He was imprisoned
on Robben Island with Nelson
Mandela during apartheid, is a
former South African cabinet
minister and owns a major min-
ing and energy company.
Sexwale said last week he
hadn t yet decided if he would
try to stand in the Fifa election,
and may not make a decision
"I am just applying my mind
course," he said.
He may be using the time to
find out if he ll receive the sup-
port of Hayatou and Africa s 54
Ex-Nigeria player latest African
hoping to succeed Blatter
Segun Odegbami...declared his
intention to stand in next year's
Fifa presidential election.
Spain's goalkeeper David de Gea, left, stretches next to his head coach Vicente
Del Bosque during a training session with the Spanish national team in Las
Rozas on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain, yesterday. In a surreal ending to the
transfer window in Spain, the much-anticipated move of Manchester United
goalkeeper David de Gea to Real Madrid never materialised. The clubs had
struck a deal that would see Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas move the other
way, but it broke down because the necessary paperwork wasn't submitted on
time. AP PHOTO
BERN---A panel steering
reforms of football s crisis-
hit governing body started
work yesterday on its mission
to help Fifa change and
restore its credibility.
Former IOC director general
Francois Carrard chaired a 12-
member group of football offi-
cials and lawyers which began
a two-day session at a hotel
next to Switzerland s parlia-
Members of Carrard s team,
all picked by Fifa s six conti-
nental confederations, declined
comment before the Swiss
lawyer s scheduled news con-
ference on Thursday.
Fifa President Sepp Blatter
gave an opening address to kick
off a process he promised on
June 2 when announcing his
resignation plans under pres-
sure from American and Swiss
criminal investigations impli-
cating senior football officials.
After Blatter s speech yes-
terday, Fifa audit monitor
Domenico Scala presented his
ideas, including to restructure
the much-criticised, 27-mem-
ber executive committee and
cut its influence on decision-
Scala also wants to impose
term limits on senior Fifa offi-
cials, publish what payments
they get and require stricter
integrity checks on candidates.
Still, Scala s paper is just a
working document and his
influence is unclear on a panel
with a strong IOC influence.
Asia s two delegates on Car-
rard s team are Olympic power
broker Sheik Ahmad al-Fahad
al-Sabah of Kuwait, recently
elected to the Fifa executive
panel, and former IOC vice
president Kevan Gosper of
Carrard s work will be vetted
by a five-member advisory
board, which he will appoint
within weeks, and then sent
to the Blatter-led executive
Only then will Fifa s 209
member federations get to vote
for changes on February 26 at
a congress in Zurich where
they also elect Blatter s suc-
Fifa members already reject-
ed imposing term limits in a
vote on the eve of the 2014
World Cup in Brazil.
Fifa s chosen path to reform
falls short of the fully inde-
pendent process demanded by
anti-corruption experts and
some World Cup sponsors.
The more in-house approach
saw yesterday s sessions
attended by legal director
Marco Villiger and deputy sec-
retary general Markus Kattner.
Visa, a sponsor at the past
two World Cups, suggested in
July that "no meaningful
progress can be made under
Fifa s existing leadership."
Carrard did make a conces-
sion to sponsors by letting
them help choose two mem-
bers of his advisory board.
Carrard panel starts reform work for crisis-hit Fifa MOSCOW---Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko
took over control of the country s football asso-
ciation yesterday ahead of the 2018 World Cup,
with promises of government money for the sport.
The arrival of Mutko, who also oversees Russia s
World Cup preparations, comes as Swiss prosecutors
investigate alleged corruption in the bidding process
for the 2018 tournament. Mutko has been a member
of Fifa s executive committee since 2009 and played
a leading role in Russia s winning bid.
Mutko was previously Russian Football Union
president from 2005 until 2009 and takes over
from Nikolai Tolstykh, who was ousted in May
after disputes over the organization s debts.
After he was elected unopposed yesterday, Mutko
talked up state support for football, saying the gov-
ernment planned to spend 7 billion rubles ($100
million) on developing the game.
"We need to organise a precise system of running
football, in order to discover the potential of our
football, which is there. That s the most important
strategic goal," he said in comments reported by
the R-Sport agency.
Government minister takes
over Russian football
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