FIFA Presidential Election
• Sheikh Salman al-Khalifa – 4/7
• Gianni Infantino – 15/8
• Prince Ali Al Hussein – 7/1
• Toyko Sexwale – 40/1
• Jerome Champagne – 50/1
With Sepp Blatter still proclaiming his innocence as if repetition will one day transform into veracity, the FIFA executive, a group of men so corrupt they make even Enron’s bosses think they’re a bit greedy, are about to stage the FIFA Presidential election to replace him, but can anyone restore their reputation now it has been sullied so badly and so many of those involved still remain?
Listening to Sepp Blatter pretend he’s innocent is sickening. Having been at the helm whilst FIFA’s reputation was savaged and dragged through the mud of the popular press and mass media, Blatter still claims he has done no wrong, that he is “not a criminal”. The problem is, of course, that no one believes him and very few have any faith that a FIFA Presidential election will be the silver bullet that slays the beast.
I’m gambling news that yet another former member of the FIFA executive committee has been handed a ban for breaching FIFA’s code of ethics, this time Thailand’s federation president, Worawi Makudi, won’t do anything to improve faith in the FIFA presidential election. He has been punished, although his fine of just 3,000 Swiss francs is probably not going to have him living in destitution any time soon, but with investigations still continuing in the US and elsewhere, there is no end to the allegations in sight.
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HSBC, the banking giant, confirmed it had been assisting in investigations conducted by the US Department of Justice regarding what it termed “certain individuals and entities that are or may be associated with FIFA.” Which doesn’t sound like this is over by a long chalk and that rather casts a shadow over the five way race in the FIFA Presidential election, what happens if they elect someone later found to be just as bad as Blatter?
Seven Out Of Ten Fans Don’t Trust FIFA Anymore
The risk that this election will be no departure from the past, but merely a sideways move that signals nothing but business as usual, isn’t lost on fans. In poll conducted by Transparency International, commissioned by Football Addicts, found that 7 out of 10 fans have no confidence in FIFA. Figures differed slightly from nation to nation but overall the opinion of fans is obviously not one of optimism, and the FIFA presidential election will not allay suspicions of those that like to bet on sports in the UK.
In the UK the lack of confidence ran to some 76%, higher than most other places, although Chile, Argentina, Ireland, South Korea and Spain all displayed a similar lack of faith, whilst those in Thailand, Japan, Russia, South Africa and (surprise, surprise) Qatar were more prone to say they still retained some confidence in FIFA ahead of the election on Friday. That so few still have any belief in FIFA means that this FIFA presidential election is a bit of a do-or-die moment for the organization.
The next President either battening down the hatches and pretending all the bad apples have been sifted from the barrel, or opening up FIFA to reform and being a fresh new broom to sweep away the past and all its remnants that still cling to their positions of power within national football federations. So who are the candidates in the FIFA Presidential election and do any of them have a hope of reforming an organization that is riddled with corruption, patronage and bribery?
FIFA Presidential Election Shuns Transparency
Current favorite at bookies like Bet365 is Sheikh Salman al-Khalifa at around 4/7. A member of the Bahrain royal family he’s the President of the Asian Football Confederation and a FIFA executive committee member, which pretty much makes him the continuity candidate in thie FIFA presidential election. His lead saying much about what we can expect in FIFA of the future; more of the same.
UEFA had to replace Michel Platini as their choice and threw up Gianni Infantino and he’s getting 15/8 in second place, but again, he’s hardly a radical departure.
If radical change is what FIFA is after (and lets face it, it should be) they’d be plumping for the current 7/1 shot Prince Ali Al-Hussein, the Jordanian royal that lost to Sepp Blatter in the last election, who has already attempted to introduce transparent voting booths for the 209 voters. His lawyers claim this was because his rivals were placing undue demands of voters to prove they voted a particular way. FIFA banned mobile phones from the booths because of that, but didn’t accept the transparent booths Ali offered.
Tokyo Sexwale is 40/1 to get the Presidency, but one has to wonder if the South African business man is not being overlooked because he was imprisoned with Nelson Mandela, but that because his name sounds like that of the stripper coming up after the interval. The last candidate is Jerome Champagne but at 50/1 the former deputy general secretary of FIFA hasn’t a hope as no one taking advantage of UK gambling laws is going to be backing him, and why should they? This FIFA Presidential election is already just a two horse race by two continuity candidates that will do nothing for the reputation of FIFA and nothing but disappoint fans.