Blatter Looks Set for Re-election as Bin Hammam Visa Denied

May 3, 2011

Mohamed Bin Hammam, presidential challenger to current FIFA incumbent Sepp Blatter, was left a frustrated after being denied a visa to attend the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Congress in Miami today, May 3, leading the Swiss to take a major step towards re-election as head of world soccer’s governing body for a record breaking fourth term.

The Qatari president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) was expected to go head to head with Blatter in an attempt to secure the all-important support of CONCACAF’S 35 member nations. However, in a blog on his website, the challenger revealed that he was unable to attend the Congress “due to issues beyond my control”.

It has since been learned that he was not able get a visa in time even though other members of his campaign team were successful in doing so. Sources stated that Bin Hammam had expected to travel to Miami straight from Paraguay where he attended yesterday’s CONMEBOL congress without any problems. Instead, Bin Hammam flew to Paris on his way home to his native Qatar.

Bin Hammam’s non-appearance in Miami will give Blatter a free run in the lobbying stakes and is set to seriously weaken his chances of unseating the 75-year-old Swiss in Zurich on June 1.

It has now been reported that Sepp Blatter it set to move a big step closer to re-election as FIFA boss when CONCACAF’s 35 member associations rubber-stamp a plan to vote as a bloc in support of the current president in elections on June 1.

A CONCACAF spokesman told worldfootballinsider: “It is very probable based on everything that has happened… it’s very likely an official announcement will be made that this is the case,” adding that confederation president Jack Warner had indicated such a decision would be made in recent days.

Warner, one of the FIFA ExCo members involved in recent ticketing scandals in recent years, will today be re-elected unopposed for a sixth term as president of the CONCACAF, and has floated the plan for his confederation to vote as a bloc for months. CONCACAF has tended to vote as a bloc in FIFA presidential elections though the plan to back Blatter must still win the support of the 35 FAs at today’s meeting.