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Sunday, March 20, 2011

UAE football chiefs back Bin Hammam's presidency bid

President of Asian Football Confederation wants Fifa top spot
  • By Ashley Hammond, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 March 19, 2011
  • Gulf News
Mohammad Bin Hammam
  • Mohammad Bin Hammam waves following his re-election as head of the AFC during the 24th AFC Congress in Doha on Thursday.
  • Image Credit: AFP
Dubai: Mohammad Bin Hammam's announcement yesterday that he is to run for Fifa presidency in June has been met with widespread support from football officials in the UAE.
Qatari-born, Bin Hammam, aged 61, the current president of the Asian Football Confederation, has long hinted at his intentions to prevent Sepp Blatter from sitting a fourth four-year term, but his candidacy was made official on Friday.
Yousuf Abdullah, the general secretary of the UAE FA welcomed the news.
He said: "We feel he is qualified and has the necessary answer to the issues affecting world and regional football."
Meanwhile the CEO of Al Ahli, Ahmad Khalifa Hammad, said: "After Sepp Blatter we have to be more open-minded and offer chances to new faces and fresh blood."
Tim March, general co-ordinator of Sharjah FC added: "You only have to look at Bin Hammam's Vision Asia project, which set numerous key performance targets for Asian members — to make clubs professional and commercially viable — to realise his potential in global sports governance.
"The vision was great, whether it was realistic or not is another matter. But with issues of measurability, sustainability and transparency all addressed, it broadened the way this region looked at football at every level."
Mohammad Bin Taloub Al Darai, who sits on the board of directors at Al Ain said: "This is great news not just for the UAE and GCC but all of Asia. Hamman is a strong and intelligent candidate who has already done so much for clubs and countries within Asia, long may this continue."
Bin Hammam's mandate will be to rid the sport of corruption following the vote-selling saga surrounding the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids. He has also backed goal-line technology and supports two more officials behind the goal.
Plans to up the Fifa board from 24 members to 41 will also dilute the influence of traditional powerhouses like Europe and South America. He also wants to put a limit on the term of president in order to focus on moving the organisation forward.
"Asia with its huge population, has the most talents, and I believe that the world has yet to feel the vibration of Asian football," said Bin Hammam, who was influential in securing the 2022 World Cup for Qatar.
If successful at the two-day election starting on May 31 in Zurich, Bin Hammam will be the ninth Fifa president, the first from Asia.