Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar, who is currently the president of the Asian Football Federation, has announced that he will challenge Sepp Blatter for the position of presidency of the top soccer governing body in the world, FIFA. The current FIFA president is Switzerlandâ€™s Sepp Blatter. Bin Hammam actually took the step of nominating himself for the position in order to promote his campaign. Elections will take place at the next FIFA Congress in Zurich on June 1st.
The 61-year-old Hammam, who was instrumental in securing the 2022 World Cup for Qatar, has been vocal in seeking what he describes as â€œgreater transparencyâ€ within FIFA. He also aims to increase the size of the FIFA Executive Committee, a member of which he originally became in 1996. He has been president of the Asian Football Congress since 2002, and he has been credited with raising the standards of the game throughout the continent.
Blatter has been embroiled in controversy over the years, including an admitted affair with a FIFA staff member. There are also reports that Blatter had verbally agreed to step down as president to be succeeded by Bin Hammam, with Blatter reportedly subsequently reneging on that agreement. Blatterâ€™s current plan is to retire in four years, after another term. But the 208 member nations of FIFA will have something to say about that in June. Bin Hammam will have to secure a two-thirds majority of those votes if he is to ascend to the presidency, an occurrence that would surely be a major milestone for Muslims in sports the world over.