FIFA President Sepp Blatter has called for discipline and restraint after world football’s governing body received complaints against both sides ahead of an election May 8 for an Asian seat on its executive committee – the 24-man decision-making body of world football.
The executive committee will decide the host countries for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in December 2010.
The two candidates are Asian Football Confederation President Mohamed bin Hammam, who has sat at FIFA’s top table for 13 years, and Shaikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa, the challenger who runs football in Bahrain.
“Football is a universal sport based on the fundamental principles of discipline and respect for opponents and the laws of the game as well as on the spirit of competitiveness and rivalry, underpinned by the values of fair play and ethics,” Blatter says.
“These principles and values must be applied not only on the field of play, but also in the administration and governance of football, particularly in the area of sports politics … this includes elections.”
Blatter says it is his duty “to remind all members of the Asian football community of the importance of these values in the run-up to the election for the vacant Asian seat on the FIFA Executive Committee and of the requirement to respect FIFA’s Statutes, principles and decisions.”
The South Korean football association says it has formally referred Bin Hammam to FIFA’s ethics committee over perceived threatening remarks against a top South Korean official.
Australian member of the FIFA ethics committee, broadcaster Les Murray, has also referred allegations of vote-buying to Ethics Committee acting chairman Petrus Damaseb.
The allegations center around plans by Shaikh Salman’s supporters to offer cash grants to Asian football associations, via the Olympic Council of Asia, to vote against Bin Hammam.
Damaseb, a judge from Namibia, says he wants to keep all options open to act before a scheduled May 8 vote.
“I do not want to exclude an intervention of any sort,” Damaseb told The Associated Press.
“It is an option we will look at on the advice of the legal department of FIFA.”
Damaseb has ordered investigations into complaints against both sides.
“Things can happen very quickly,” he said, with the ethics panel able to convene by conference call with just three of its 14 members present. “If the evidence that we get is strong enough, then I might even call a meeting on two, three days’ notice.”
Damaseb has served on the ethics panel for two years and became acting chairman in February when Sebastian Coe, the two-time Olympic 1,500-meter champion, stepped aside to avoid a conflict of interest when he joined the bid team trying to bring the World Cup to England.
Premier League Chief Backs Bin Hammam
English Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has taken the unprecedented step of politically backing bin Hammam in his bid to be re-elected to the FIFA executive committee.
In public at least, Scudamore has always been careful to guard his and his organization’s neutrality in political battles, particularly involving FIFA.
he has put his name to bin Hammam in a potentially explosive battle with al-Khalifa.
Scudamore appears in a manifesto distributed to the voting members of the AFC, saying:
“Mohamed’s vision for football development in Asia is both progressive and exciting, providing opportunities to help the game flourish throughout the AFC for the benefit of football right across the region.”
Scudamore is not alone in endorsing bin Hammam’s candidacy. Peter Kenyon, the Chelsea chief executive who is one of football’s most influential figures with a seat on UEFA’s strategy board, is also supporting the campaign.
Ghana Headed For FIFA Sanctions
FIFA is investigating reports the Ghanaian government is interfering with the running of football in the country and has warned the country will be banned from international competition if such allegations are proven.
The country’s government has reportedly been trying to impose certain people on committees of the Ghana Football Association.
Under FIFA rules, national football associations must not be subject to government control and the global body has continually proven it is prepared to take swift and decisive action in such situations.
FIFA’s presidential delegate for special affairs, Jerome Champagne, has now demanded a report from the GFA on recent maneuvers by the country’s new sports minister.
The GFA report will determine whether their independence is being threatened before FIFA take any action.
German Women Honored By FIFA
FIFA has presented the German women’s side with a special badge marking their last World Cup success.
The badge will be displayed on the national team jersey from April 22 – when the world champions play a friendly against Brazil – and will remain up until the final whistle of
the next FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2011.
Germany is the only women’s team to have claimed two consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup titles.
“I am delighted to present the Women’s World Champions Badge to the German women’s team,” FIFA President Sepp Blatter said.
“The title, which they claimed in China in 2007 and will defend at home in 2011, represents all of the hard work undertaken by the German Football Association over many years.
“With over one million registered female players and a prestigious collection of European and international trophies, Germany serves as an example to others in terms of women’s football development.”
Germany will be the focal point for women’s football over the next two years, as it will host the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2010 as well as the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2011.
Written by Anthony Stavrinos
For general comments or questions, click here
Your best source of news about the Olympics is www.aroundtherings.com, for subscribers only.