PtG Article 22.02.2010

Blatter faces challenge at the 2011 FIFA president elections

The Asian Football Confederation promises to challenge Sepp Blatter’s 12 year long reign as FIFA president at the elections next year.

Muhamed Bin Hammam, president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) promises that Asia will present a candidate to run against Sepp Blatter when FIFA elects its president in 2011. Whether the Asian challenge will come from Bin Hammam himself is not yet sure, but according to Bin Hammam, Asian contenders are ready to attempt to break the 12-year-long presidency of Blatter.

In Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, Bin Hammam stated that the post as president of the International Football Federation should be limited to two terms.“I genuinely believe eight years is enough for every president to focus on football,” he said according to The Guardian. “After that, he’s looking after everything else other than football.”

73 year-old Sepp Blatter, who has held the post as FIFA President for almost three terms, seems to disagree with this stand. “I have not yet finished my vision, and if the congress decides so I will be at their disposal,” he said last year announcing his run for a fourth term.

Blatter’s first real threat

There have been speculations of other candidates for the top post in international football, but according to German journalist Jens Weinreich, who has been following the work of Blatter closely for the last 12 years, this is the first real threat to Blatter’s presidency. “This could be the end of an era with Sepp Blatter,” he writes on his blog

Weinreich believes that Jack Warner will be key in the turnout of the elections. Warner has a great influence on the 40 votes from CONCACAF members and according to Weinreich this influence will manifest in votes cast for the most prosperous contender. “And I do think he (Jack Warner, red.) will go for the Asians, simply because they have the money to pay. Blatter has no money,” Weinreich says to Play the Game. 

Asian votes for the presidential election count 46 of 208 and also play a vital role in deciding whether Blatter can continue his reign or if FIFA will be headed by a new president for the first time since 1998.

Blatter himself is ready to defend his post. "I am satisfied that now it is obvious that there will be candidates for the FIFA presidency in 2011 from Asia. I have not changed my position (to run for another term, red.)," Blatter said according to The Guardian.