CONCACAF Delay FIFA Decision to Hear from Absent Bin Hammam

May 4, 2011

After FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam, challenger to current incumbent Sepp Blatter, was denied access to attend its congress in Miami yesterday, May 3, the 35-strong CONCACAF Confederation delayed its decision on who to back in the June 1 election.

Bin Hammam’s absence was believed to be a major blow for the Qatari with most feeling that Blatter would be successful as he lobbied for votes. However, CONCACAF President Jack Warner said it would be unfair to state an official position without also hearing from the challenger.

Bin Hammam will meet with CONCACAF’s Caribbean representatives in Trinidad on May 10 having failed to secure a visa in time to travel to the USA, in a hastily arranged alternative summit.

Warner has been a key supporter of Blatter in the past but told a news conference immediately after the congress: “It is about fair play.”

He did however, confirm that CONCACAF would stick with its practice of voting as a block at the election and it is now likely that the decision will be made at the FIFA Congress itself just before the vote.

Blatter remained extremely confident of securing the support of the Confederation despite the deferral and described the Americas as his “base”, adding he was “absolutely sure” that CONCACAF would give him their usual strong backing.

However, the election for President is by secret ballot and it is known that a number of CONCACAF members are still frustrated at the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar instead of the United States. 

The Confederation were made more angry when FIFA’s Executive Committee failed to grant them another berth at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil with general secretary Chuck Blazer publicly expressed his personal disappointment.

Meanwhile, there was still no official explanation as to why bin Hammam was denied a visa especially when it was assumed he travels on a diplomatic passport.