Sepp Blatter’s chances of being re-elected FIFA president were given another significant boost today with a declaration of support from Africa.
The executive committee of the African Football Confederation (CAF) voted in a secret ballot to back Blatter against his challenger Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar.
CAF said after a meeting in Cairo: “Following a secret ballot, the CAF executive committee voted in majority to support the incumbent M. Joseph Sepp Blatter.”
UEFA plus the South America and Oceania confederations have already also officially backed Blatter. Although it is the confederations’ individual associations that will actually vote in the FIFA election in Zurich on June 1, the backing of their executive committees should prove influential.
Blatter claimed last week he was confident of a two-thirds majority.
He also suggested that FIFA’s existence was at stake in the elections, suggesting that the governing body could “disappear into a black hole” should he be defeated.
Without naming Blatter, Bin Hammam appeared to hit back at his rival for the presidency in a posting on his personal blog.
Bin Hammam wrote: “To make the declaration ’it’s me or no one’ is a selfish, false and incorrect way of thinking.”
He added: “Our sport is not the sole domain of any race, colour or creed, on or off the pitch. No one person is so fundamentally important to the future of our game that its very future depends on their involvement.
“To suggest otherwise is to seek to disenfranchise the countless millions who take pride and pleasure from our great sport. We are all merely guardians of the sport and it is in all our interests to work together for the good of the game.
“FIFA has been leading the way for more than a century; it has endured and prospered, thrived and developed since its founding in 1904.
“None of us are bigger than football and we should, instead, act as its humble servants, safeguarding its future for the generations to come. To do otherwise would be a dereliction of our duties.”