Saturday, February 13, 2016

The next FIFA President revealed


The next FIFA president may have already emerged two weeks before the elections scheduled to hold on February 26, 2016.

Last week, there was a report that members of the Confederation of African Football, CAF, have taken a decision to support a particular candidate for the elections. With their 54 block votes, the single largest of the confederations, CAF can effectively determine where the next president would come from. All they need is an alliance with a confederation with a large enough number of delegates and the deed is done!
Not surprisingly, therefore, the report said that Africa will be voting as a block not for the only African candidate in the race but for the President of the Asian Football Confederation, the Sheikh from Bahrain, a man steeped in the tradition and activities of FIFA under Sepp Blatter and, indeed, one over whom there is still a searchlight on his part in the corruption scandals that have rocked FIFA to its foundation.
He also remains a subject of criticism and of a forensic moral audit that has been lingering and hanging over his head like an Albatross since 2011 when he was accused by human rights groups of complicity in the arrest and imprisonment of hundreds of pro-democracy athlete-demonstrators in Bahrain.
That’s the man un-refuted reports say CAF has sacrificed its African candidate for?
I do not understand what the issues are or what politics CAF may be playing at, but I see the hand of the most powerful man in world football today all over that unfolding script.
The African candidate for the FIFA election is South African businessman, political activist and Anti-Apartheid hero, Tokyo Sexwale. He has not uttered a word yet in reaction to the report.  That, in itself, speaks volumes.
He could not have just given up his dream for no just cause or without good reason with the finishing line looming in the distance.
So what could have happened?
I watched and listened to him last week on a Supersports programme on television where he spoke glowingly about his plans for FIFA, his credentials, his global campaign and his chances of winning.
Despite his broad smiles and intelligent responses, he gave a hint of what is now playing out. He said that he would be satisfied with an outcome that returns an Asian or an African as the next president of FIFA.Mathematically, that can only happen when the two continents deliver their block votes to a single candidate from either continent.
Unfortunately, what this reveals is that football may be heading back to its old ways and to the same old faces in the corridors of football administration.
The forces and methodology that will bring about this next leadership will make their own demands of the new president and the result would be a return to football administration’s recent vomit – a road to perfidy built on the foundations of fear, political loyalty and an all-powerful leadership that can do anything in football and get away with it!
My reading of the situation is that Asia and Africa have teamed up and settled to install an Asian as next FIFA president.
I know very little about the man whose face suddenly starts to emerge and so have no comments to make except what I read in the media last week about a press conference he held in London where he presented his manifesto.
I was shocked by the size of its content. It seemed to contain only one item – a warning to all delegates that FIFA would be completely financially broke by 2018 if anyone else but him is elected its president! What a manifesto!
Suddenly, it dawned on me that the world has put the cart before the horse by conducting elections before introducing new reforms that would steer the ship of football away from the ills of the past. The FIFA elections should have come after the introduction of new reforms, not the other way round.
Such reforms would have streamlined a system that would ensure that a true democratic electoral process is followed in the elections that guarantees that the final choice of president would be the product of an unfettered, unencumbered and independent choice of the individual member federations (not block votes of confederations) devoid of the fear of reprisals for their choice, of any demands for repayment for granted favours or political loyalty to powerful elements still within FIFA.
What we would see now is the likely return to the old ways of doing things and the old faces that have tasted the forbidden fruit of absolute power under Sepp Blatter, a leader so powerful that he perpetuated himself in office, helped confederation and national presidents to remain in office also in near perpetuity, and continued to sustain a system whose byproducts are kickbacks, cult followership, servitude, impunity, blatant dictatorship, and lack of transparency and accountability.
This present decision of CAF raises questions.
Did CAF meet over the choice of the right candidate? Where and when did such a meeting hold? Who voted to abandon the African candidate nominated by his country and endorsed by five others in Africa? Did any of the other contestants visit any African country canvassing for their FA president’s vote? Shouldn’t national federation presidents have sought the mandate of their local members first before mortgaging their independence and surrendering their voting right to a confederation that is not constitutionally a player in the FIFA elections?
Block voting is anathema to true democracy in FIFA. Although not illegal, yet it infringes on the fundamental right of every national federation to be independent when taking decisions on all matters, including elections. Any form of interference is unacceptable according to the statutes!
So, what is ‘block voting,’ therefore, if it is not coercion and psychological interference? This is the tool deployed by the previous FIFA leadership to keep members in line and enslaved, the same things that fueled the corruption in FIFA under Sepp Blatter.
New reforms should have come before these elections. They would have guaranteed that a new FIFA leadership emerges that cannot stay in office forever, that does not have absolute powers to do and undo, and will be accountable to the football family.
Did Africa, therefore, give up on its representative because it could not muster enough support for him from the other confederations? Or is there a powerful hand still at work within FIFA steering football away from the ongoing investigations and needing the protection of a new leadership that will repay it for this present favour?
All attention is now on Issa Hayatou, not because he is a candidate for the elections but because he is the only puppeteer seemingly powerful enough to pull the strings and install the next president.
Issa Hayatou, gifted by the elements with this unscripted opportunity to lead FIFA into the elections, and used to dictating things in CAF for almost three decades, may be preparing for a new lease life into the new FIFA dispensation?
Did he coerce the rest of Africa to sacrifice the only African candidate in order to secure his own future place and protection?
I know for sure that without Issa’s approval and directive no decision of this magnitude and with massive implications for Africa (good or bad) could have taken place in CAF where the fear of the man is the beginning of wisdom.
So, I now can reasonably guess who the next president of FIFA will be.I heard it first from Tokyo Sexwale himself. He is Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, the young 50-year-old royal Prince from Bahrain.
Source; Guardian

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