Hayatou may emerge as new FIFA boss
• FBI investigates FIFA boss
• ‘Why Africa supported Blatter’
Confederation of African Football (CAF) President, Issa Hayatou, has ben touted as a possible replacement for FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, who stepped down from his position on Tuesday.
Blatter still remains head of FIFA until a new president is elected between December and March 2016. But sources close to the world football governing body yesterday revealed that Cameroun’s Hayatou, UEFA President, Michel Platini and Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, who contested against Blatter last week, are the front runners for the position.
Hayatou was propped up by some members of UEFA in 2006 to contest against Blatter, but after the Camerounian lost the polls, Blatter co-opted him into the FIFA inner caucus such that he became a firm defender of the Swiss’ policies.
Hayatou has not said anything about his ambition for the position, but he disclosed yesterday that he was still studying the situation and consulting with other members of the confederation.
He also denied that he was quizzed by those investigating the corruption scandal in FIFA, saying he has not been bothered by anybody. On the current events in FIFA, he admitted that things have gone awry in the world football house, adding, however, “she is united.
The proof is, at the congress, which went on well, we elected our president. Every required formality for the congress was observed and nothing went wrong except, the fact that some people came from the United States to arrest Americans; meanwhile they could have been arrested on the American continent.
There is something that surprises everyone. Why not arrest them on the American continent given that they came from there? There is a reason.”
Hayatou reaffirmed Africa’s support for Blatter during the last elections, saying he has truly helped the African continent. “By allocating this 2010 World Cup, by the various training courses he organised, by the various sporting facilities constructed. All of this rallied the continent to support his cause.
There is nothing more, contrary to what is believed. “The money FIFA gives to national associations is the same for every association, including the very rich like Germany.
I am President of the finance committee, as well as of the development committee. It is at the level of my committee that it all happens. The sharing is equitable.
All federations across the world, big or small, have the same amount. This is what vexes them. They believe that more money should be given to the major federations. And Africa is very much aware of this situation.
She sees her football and infrastructures develop. Consequently we support Mr. Blatter, contrary to what is said.” In a statement yesterday, CAF affirmed its support for reforms “for the consolidation of a FIFA that will be accepted by everyone,” while reiterating “its determination to cooperate in safeguarding the moral and ethical values that underlie the practice of football, its organisation, administration and development.”
Also speaking on the crisis, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, described the recent events in FIFA as unfortunate, adding, however, that the continent still stood by the embattled Blatter.
He told a gathering of journalists in Lagos yesterday that “Nigeria has been picked to present the African position on the on-going crisis and we are all united in our support for Blatter.”
According to Pinnick, “Blatter has done so much for the African continent that I don’t think we would have gotten to where we are now without his support.
“Among the numerous assistance are the periodic courses that have helped in building the capacity of our referees, our coaches, match officials and others and I want to tell you that very soon with the assistance of FIFA we will build a football house in Lagos. “We don’t support corruption, but nothing has been proved against Blatter.”
Also speaking to The Guardian, a member of one of the FIFA committees, who pleaded anonymity, said there were elements of racism in the on-going crisis, although he admitted that some members of the FIFA executive committee have not lived above board. “One of the problems Blatter has had is his support for Africa and countries of the Third World.
You recall that his decision to start rotating the World Cup to all the continents have not gone down well with Europe and America. Even at that, it took him a lot to swing the event to South Africa in 2010.
“Now, nobody remembers how South Africa lost to 2006 vote to Germany when New Zealander, Charles Dempsey, abstained from voting during the biding process. He conveniently retired from FIFA after that. “I bet you, if England had won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup instead of Russia and U.S had won the 2022 bid, we may not be seeing all these things happening now.”
Meanwhile, Blatter’s shock resignation has not stopped the investigators from getting close to him in their ‘house cleansing.’
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into Blatter’s role in tens of millions of dollars of bribes given to football officials, according to US media. Interpol has also put six other suspects, including two former Fifa executive members, on its most-wanted list.
Speaking on Blatter yesterday, the U.S. Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, who is heading the investigation, said is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI.
Reports of Blatter’s right-hand man Jerome Valcke being caught up in the scandal have been dismissed by FIFA and Valcke but yesterday a 40-page document from Chuck Blazer, the former secretary general of CONCACAF and a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, who surreptitiously worked fro the FBI, was expected to release plenty more information on individuals involved in the crisis.
According to Lynch, “we certainly hope the organization will be able to move forward in a way that are supportive of its goals, which are the promotion and regulation of a truly wonderful sport. “With respect to the FIFA investigation as was announced last week we are not able to comment further on the nature of other individuals who may or may not be under investigation.
“This is an ongoing matter, it is an open case, and so we will now be speaking through the courts.” The U.S. Attorney General then confirmed that the Swiss authorities are looking into the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups but could not add anything further.
“The Swiss authorities do have an investigation underway and their investigation covers matters involving the World Cup awarding for 2018 and 2022, and beyond that I am not able to comment.”