Blatter Secures African Support in Big Blow to Bin Hammam

May 17, 2011

The African Confederation (CAF) has voted in majority support of current FIFA presidential incumbent Sepp Blatter as the Swiss steps closer to re-election on June 1. The outcome is thought to be the most devastating blow yet to challenger Mohamed Bin Hammam’s chances of dethroning the 75-year-old.

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Bin Hammam has always been confident he will collect a significant number of votes from Africa because of both the Arab connections in North Africa and the contacts he has built up during his years at the head of FIFA’s Goal Bureau development department.

The matter was thought to be of real concern to Blatter who, originally, had been assumed to hold commanding support across the continent after working to bring the World Cup finals to Africa for the first time last year.

A secret ballot in Monday’s, May 16, meeting of the executive committee of the African confederation – which has 53 members – resulted in a majority swing in favour of supporting Blatter in the election at the FIFA Congress on June 1. The decision is merely a recommendation to CAF’s member associations but it is still a significant win for the FIFA president, although the voting split is unknown.

Oceania, Europe (UEFA) and South America (CONMEBOL) had already declared their formal support for Blatter.

The African confederation is one of a number of soccer’s leading governing bodies to have been confronted by a credibility crisis after FIFA executive member Amos Adamu from Nigeria was banned from the sport – along with six other African former ExCo members – following last autumn’s World Cup vote-rigging scandal.

The CAF’s long-serving president Issa Hayatou has also been accused, twice, over payment irregularities – allegations he has denied. Interestingly, Hayatou was the last FIFA member to challenge Sepp Blatter for the world governing body’s top spot in Seoul in 2002, losing heavily by 139 votes to 56.