FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s sole challenger for the presidential re-elections this year, Mohamed Bin Hammam has claimed he plans to write to his rival and current incumbent to call for the upcoming election campaign to display the “integrity” of world soccer’s governing body.
It was made official by FIFA on Monday, April 4, that Asian Football Confederation president Bin Hammam would be the only opponent Blatter in the June 1 vote in Zurich, Switzerland. Former Chile international defender Elias Figueroa and American journalist Grant Wahl had previously announced plans to enter the running but failed to secure the nomination required to do so.
Issa Hayatou was the last candidate to run against Blatter when he was defeated in the 2002 ballot, which came after a campaign of accusations of financial mismanagement at FIFA.
However, Bin Hammam, writing in his online blog, stated that he is hoping both candidates can improve the public image of FIFA, which has taken a battering since the build-up to the December 2010 vote for the host countries of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments.
The statement read: “I will write to the current FIFA president to congratulate him for putting his name forward for a fourth term. I will let him know that I see this election as an opportunity for us to prove that FIFA is not corrupt and that the organisation is open and democratic.
“I will tell him that throughout this campaign we should respect FIFA’s statutes and protect FIFA’s integrity by ensuring that there will be no outside interference in the attempt to win votes; the influence of third parties should not be tolerated or accepted.”