FIFA press on with leadership vote despite corruption scandal

FIFA press on with leadership vote despite corruption scandal

FIFA are to press ahead with a leadership vote today, despite the ongoing corruption scandal.

The international football governing body will choose between Sepp Blatter, who seeks a fifth term as president, and Ali bin al-Hussein.

News of the scandal broke on Wednesday when seven top officials were held in Zurich as part of a US fraud inquiry.

Addressing delegates on the second day of FIFA’s congress, Blatter warned the organisation faced “troubled times”.

Uefa President Michel Platini revealed he had asked Blatter to resign in an emergency meeting with key officials on Thursday but had been refused. Blatter said it was “too late”.

He said: “These are unprecedented and difficult times for FIFA. It must fall to me to uphold responsibility for the well-being of the organisation.”

Both candidates will have fifteen minutes to address delegates before the 209 member associations vote in a secret ballot.

To win candidates must secure two thirds of the vote (140) in the first round. If this is not achieved then a second vote is held with the candidate with the most votes winning.

Speaking to Radio 4 Lord Triesman, former Head of the Football Association and head of England’s 2018 world cup bid praised the investigation: “What’s sad in a way is that it’s taken so long and football has been so degraded by it. I think it’s very much to the credit of the United States authorities that they’ve had the strength and determination to take it on.  I wish others had.”

He also criticised Blatter’s broken promises to reform in the past: “The place is completely immune to any criticism. You could probably put together the best part of a book the occasions where Sepp Blatter has said ‘this time we’re going to reform thoroughly, we’re going to take it seriously’”.

“He constantly says it, it makes absolutely no difference, his view is he can put together an electorate principally in Asian, Africa and south America which will put him back in power”.

Lord Goldsmith, a member of the independent governance committee set up to reform FIFA said the executive committee could not be trusted with the governance of the game .

“We warned them of that. We warned them if they didn’t get their act together and show transparency and accountability someone else would police them instead and that’s what’s happening.”

The committee had called for term limits, independent executive committee members in the same model as corporate businesses and a new accountable, transparent approach to FIFA.

Wednesday saw nine top officials and five corporate executives indicted on corruption charges, including Jack Warner a former member of the executive committee and Jeffrey Webb, President of Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and one of seven vice presidents.

Others include the presidents and former presidents of the Costa Rican, Brazilian, South American, Venezuelan football associations as well as a former executive committee member and a development officer.

The organisation are also facing serious threats of sponsorship withdrawal from Visa, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Nike and McDonalds.

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