The “Blatter Out” campaign breezed through Tokyo on Monday as Issa Hayatou, FIFA boss Sepp Blatter’s rival for the presidency, and his South Korean ally, Dr. Chung Mong Joon, held a press conference to state their case for a new broom in FIFA.
Hayatou and Chung reiterated their views on FIFA president Blatter and said that the only way forward was for the Swiss president to be replaced. Hayatou is Blatter’s sole opposition candidate in the election that will be held on May 29 in Seoul.
“We need someone accountable and responsible in charge of FIFA,” Chung stated in a thinly disguised attack on the present FIFA chief. “At the moment, FIFA is in an organizational, political and financial crisis.”
The row over the FIFA leadership increased last week when Michel Zen-Ruffinen, FIFA’s general secretary, accused Blatter of criminal mismanagement and nearly half of FIFA’s executive committee joined him in taking legal action against the president.
Hayatou made clear what he sees as the consequences of re-electing Blatter.
“Dr. Chung has reminded us that the credibility of FIFA, as well as it’s financial standing, is in tatters,” the president of the African confederation stated. “If Blatter is re-elected, FIFA’s image will just go further down the road to ruin. I sincerely hope that doesn’t happen.”
However, despite the crisis FIFA finds itself in, Hayatou is not guaranteed of being elected. Blatter has considerable support in North, South and Central America, as well as certain countries in Asia, particularly the Middle East.
“Many people asked me to stand for the presidency,” Hayatou said. “And I think my chances are very good and becoming stronger all the time.”
One of the issues that concerns Chung, a FIFA vice president, is the allocation of places in the World Cup finals.
“After the France World Cup, the number of slots for Asia was reduced from 3.5 to two,” Chung noted. “Blatter said it was because of the poor performance of Asian teams at the World Cup.
“In fact, Blatter took away the slots from Asia to give to South America. This was an insult to Asia.”
Hayatou said he found it incredible that South America, a confederation with only 10 countries, has five teams in the upcoming World Cup. He has pledged to reduce this imbalance by reducing the number of South American places to three. At the same time, he will boost Asia’s representation to five and grant Oceania, until now deprived of an automatic slot, its own berth in the finals.
Hayatou also said that the practice of retaining the president of FIFA indefinitely should stop and he plans to limit the president to two terms.
Chung emphasized that the anti-Blatter lobby was not just acting because of the election.
“Mr. Blatter was quoted as saying that Mr. Zen-Ruffinen and ourselves are making all these claims against him because of the election. That is not true. We are taking the minimum action necessary to defend FIFA and to defend football.”
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