Asian football boss has his eye on the beautiful game
As FIFA’s presidential election race heats up, Asian football boss, Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, is aiming to be the perfect match for the sport’s governing body with officials feeling the pressure from the organisation’s crisis.
Football’s world governing body is currently facing criminal investigations in Switzerland and the United States, where 41 officials and sports entities have been slammed with corruption charges.
Switzerland’s prosecutor is also investigating FIFA’s awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar. Interestingly, all candidates for the presidential hot seat are presenting themselves as ‘reformers’.
The president of the Asian Football Confederation, Sheikh Salman, has his own plans in the pipeline for changes at the sport’s top organisation. His plans include splitting FIFA into separate ‘business’ and ‘football’ entities.
He said reform is an ‘ongoing process’.
Sheikh Salman says he also wants to be a very different style of president to the man he supported for many years – Sepp Blatter – who has now been banned from FIFA.
He adds that he sees the role as non-executive and wants to delegate rather than what he terms ‘micromanage’.
It comes after FIFA ethics investigators said they were planning an appeal that could extend eight-year bans on outgoing president Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, raising the possibility of lifelong exclusion.
On Wednesday, FIFA fired secretary general, Jerome Valcke, amid alleged corruption involving World Cup ticket sales.
Salman, who this past week has been drumming up support in the Caribbean and Central America, is quietly confident that he has collected enough support to win.
He told Reuters reporters: “I feel that my chances are good. I have been through elections before and believe me I won’t put my name into the hat unless I know that I have a good chance of winning.”