x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Hammam hints at challenging Blatter for Fifa presidency

The AFC president drops a hint on a Facebook account linked to his official website that "competition is good for the organisation".

Mohamed bin Hammam chats with Fifa president Sepp Blatter. Kamarul Akhir / AFP
Mohamed bin Hammam chats with Fifa president Sepp Blatter. Kamarul Akhir / AFP

Mohamed bin Hammam, the president of the Asian Football Confederation, has dropped a further hint that he could challenge Sepp Blatter for the Fifa presidency.

Bin Hamman is yet to publicly announce whether he will stand in June's election. But he posted yesterday on a Facebook account linked to his official website that "competition is good for the organisation (Fifa), whether (the) president or any other posts. Competition is the best way to make the organisation vibrant and alive."

Blatter has been president since 1998 and is up for re-election for a fourth four-year term.

When asked recently whether he would challenge the Swiss incumbent, bin Hammam said: "I did not make up my mind yet. I would rather wait and see."

Also yesterday, football's rule-makers agreed to extend goal-line technology tests for another year, but time is running out to introduce it at the 2014 World Cup.

High-profile mistakes by referees at last year's World Cup led to Blatter reversing his long-held opposition to officials using high-tech aids to assist in decision-making.

But 10 systems investigated by Fifa last month all failed stringent tests, preventing the International Football Association Board (IFAB) from approving trials in real games.

Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke told the Associated Press there should be "additional tests in the future, at least until 2012, to see if it works".

Football has previously refused to make changes while major sports including tennis, American football, baseball and ice hockey have employed video replay and other high-tech equipment to help officials get calls right.

"It has got to be reliable, quick and affordable and nothing has worked at the moment," said Chuck Blazer, a Fifa executive committee member from the US. "If anyone can meet that criteria I continue to be open to it."

The IFAB approved the use of two additional referees' assistants at the 2012 European Championship after successful testing with the Uefa president Michel Platini's five-official system in the Europa League.

In a ruling that will displease some footballers in cold conditions, IFAB banned players from wearing neck-warming snoods from July 1.

"There was not even a discussion because this is not part of the uniform and it can be dangerous," Blatter said.

IFAB is a 125-year-old body comprising officials from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, plus Fifa representing the other 204 football nations and referees, coaches and players worldwide.

In Spain, Jose Mourinho, the Real Madrid coach, has played down media reports of a knife attack apparently launched against him in La Coruna last weekend in which a club security guard was slightly injured.

The Spanish radio station Cadena Ser said on Friday the guard had sustained a cut to his back during the usual melee with fans at the city's airport.

However, it was not clear how the guard had been injured or whether there was an aggressor present.

Mourinho said at a news conference ahead of Real's game at Racing Santander today that he knew nothing about the incident other than that the club had told him the guard "had something on his back done with something sharp".

"I don't know anything, I didn't see anything," the Portuguese said. "I arrived, went to the hotel, played the match, returned to Madrid. For me there is no story.

"We had the normal protection the team has, which is not for aggression but for passion of fans.

"I don't know any more and I don't want to know. It doesn't interest me."

* Agencies