Blatter appoints PR man for FIFA election campaign
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has hired a British journalist to help improve his image during his re-election contest against Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar.
Blatter asked for help from Brian Alexander, an experienced and respected member of the London-based media which he criticized last year for its tactics and reporting of FIFA when England failed in its bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
Alexander told The Associated Press on Friday he will advise Blatter on his media strategy before the June 1 poll.
''I've got to know him quite well and I've always got on well with him,'' said Alexander, recently left the BBC after 14 years as a radio and television presenter.
He was previously a sports editor at three different newspapers in Britain's famously aggressive and competitive media market.
One of Alexander's first tasks has been to help fine-tune Blatter's opening campaign statement as he seeks a fourth and final four-year term in office.
Blatter has stayed silent in public about the election - the first threat to his FIFA rule for nine years - since the deadline for candidates to be nominated closed last Friday.
Bin Hammam, the Asian Football Confederation President who helped run Blatter's successful election campaigns in 1998 and 2002, will look for votes from the four British nations where there is lingering unhappiness with FIFA and Blatter, especially in England.
Senior English football officials briefed reporters last month that they would support any ''credible challenger'' to the 75-year-old Swiss official.
To be FIFA president, Blatter and bin Hammam need a two-thirds majority of valid ballots in the first round, or a simple majority in the second, when up to 208 national associations vote at the FIFA Congress in Zurich.
Blatter is set to meet officials from Belize, Guatemala and Costa Rica while on official FIFA business next week.
According to his official website, Bin Hammam was visiting Gambia on Friday.