FIFA’s Blatter in Miami, confident of re-election
FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he came away from the CONCACAF
congress Tuesday confident he’ll be re-elected despite a bid to
unseat him by Mohammed Bin Hammam of Qatar, the Asian Football
”I’m sure at the end of the day there will be no change in
FIFA,” Blatter said.
CONCACAF president Jack Warner said the federation is happy with
Blatter’s leadership but receptive to Bin Hammam’s ideas. Bin
Hammam didn’t attend the congress because he was unable to attain a
U.S. visa, Warner said.
A meeting between Bin Hammam and CONCACAF officials was
rescheduled for May 10 in Trinidad. CONCACAF is soccer’s regional
governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean, and
it’s considered pivotal in the outcome of the presidential election
The congress was closed to the media, an unusual step for such
sessions. Afterward, Blatter and Warner sat side by side at a news
”I am, I would say, a relaxed president after the meeting,”
Blatter said. ”I am more than confident now after this congress
here that we are going forward with energy and a lot of
Blatter has led soccer’s governing body since 1998, and the
75-year-old Swiss seeks a four-year term that he said will be his
last. Bin Hammam is his lone opponent.
Warner advised Blatter before the congress began that
campaigning by the president was unnecessary.
”President Blatter has been coming here for the last 20
years,” Warner said. ”If there’s anybody we know, we know
president Blatter. Therefore, there is nothing he can tell us that
we don’t know of him, or what his plans are.”
FIFA has often been accused of corruption on Blatter’s watch,
but his support in the CONCACAF region is strong, Warner said.
”The members of the executive committee and congress, all of
them, have said they’re happy where they are,” Warner said.
”Nobody expressed any displeasure with Mr. Blatter’s office. But
out of fair play, they would like to hear what the other person has
Warner’s 35-member group will vote as a bloc. At the FIFA
Congress in Zurich, the winning candidate will need a two-thirds
majority on the first ballot or a simple majority on the
FIFA drew criticism for its methods in choosing the two most
recently selected World Cup sites – Russia in 2018 and Qatar in
2022. The decisions came at the same time, with two executive
committee members barred from voting because of corruption
allegations. Four other senior officials were suspended.
If re-elected, Blatter promises broad reforms in the way sites
are chosen, and says he’ll set up a watchdog committee to supervise
how FIFA works and restore the organization’s credibility.
Bin Hammam, 61, played a key role in Qatar winning the rights to
the 2022 World Cup. He has proposed sharing FIFA’s power and jobs
with its six confederations by offering 17 extra seats on the
executive body and creating legal and development teams at
Some CONCACAF delegates don’t know Bin Hammam well, and his
absence at the congress cost him a chance to court support.
”How much it has hurt him, I really can’t say,” Warner said.
”If he were here, it would have helped him a lot.”
CONCACAF delegate Frederick Lunn of the Bahamas said the group
is open-minded about Bin Hammam’s candidacy.
”You have to give everyone an opportunity in this process,”
Lunn said. ”Regardless of the outcome, to have any sort of
opposition and to hear new ideas is good. You never know. He may
come with a home run. It happens sometimes with the underdog.”