Saturday, 2 April 2011

Football : FIFA president nominations close with duo set for battle

Zurich: Nominations for the FIFA presidency closed at 2200 GMT on Friday with incumbent Sepp Blatter and challenger Mohamed Bin Hammam set to be the only two candidates at the June 1 election.

World soccer's ruling body said in a statement it would announce the official candidates on Monday "following a thorough verification process".

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A spokeswoman would not comment on the number of candidates FIFA had by Friday but U.S. journalist Grant Wahl told Reuters in an email he had not received a nomination after searching for one national association to back him.

The Sports Illustrated (SI) writer was attempting to launch his campaign in protest at FIFA's inner workings after recent corruption scandals.

"If FIFA were truly a representative democracy I'm convinced that not only would I have been nominated but I also would have beaten Blatter and Bin Hammam in a landslide on election day," he said in his latest SI article.

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) chief Bin Hammam, 61, has stated it is time for change and has announced a manifesto centred on transparency.

The Qatari, sworn in unopposed for a third and final term as AFC president in January, is seeking to unseat 75-year-old Swiss Blatter after 13 years in charge and thereby become the ninth president of FIFA.
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