x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Hammam still coy about running for presidency of Fifa

Fifa should adopt term limits for its governing officials, including president, says Mohamed bin Hammam, president of the Asian Football Confederation.

DOHA // Mohamed bin Hammam remains coy about whether he will run for the presidency of Fifa this year, but he called for term limits for the world governing body, a clear reference to the long-time incumbent, Sepp Blatter.

The president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said he was 15 minutes late to a media conference yesterday because "someone phoned and asked me if there is any announcement regarding the next Fifa election. Of course, that is not the case". He also asked reporters not to ask him about Fifa matters.

But, about 30 minutes later, he responded enthusiastically when asked if the Fifa president should be limited in how many years he can serve.

Blatter, 74, has been the Fifa president since 1998 and will be seeking re-election this year for the fourth time. Blatter's predecessor, Joao Havelange of Brazil, was Fifa president for 24 years.

"The people today, and correct me if I'm wrong, complain a lot about how Fifa runs its businesses," bin Hammam said. "I think not only term limits need to be inserted, but there are a lot of changes that need to be added to the Fifa practices of its businesses.

"A term limit will facilitate the rotation of the power within the organisation, and I've said in the past that changing or limiting the mandate for president will allow new people to come into power without hesitation, and new people mean new ideas and new thoughts and pushing the organisation well ahead."

Bin Hammam, a 61-year-old Qatari, has been the AFC president since 2002, and has said he will step down in 2015.

He seemed to indicate eight years as the maximum tenure for the Fifa presidency, saying that "after eight years you begin to think, 'If I am going to stay more I have to think how to protect my position, my seat, and then I'm [getting away from] the reason why I'm president."