x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Only Hammam up for a fight against Blatter for Fifa president's post

It is a two-horse race at the elections, as the deadline for candidates ended on Friday.

The world football's governing body FIFA on Monday confirmed the candidacies of incumbent Sepp Blatter and Qatari Mohammed Bin Hammam for the FIFA presidency.

"The FIFA general secretariat received two candidatures for the FIFA Presidency by the statutory deadline... The names of the candidates are: Joseph S. Blatter (Switzerland); Mohamed Bin Hammam (Qatar)," FIFA said in a statement.

"The election for the FIFA presidency will be held in Zurich on 1 June 2011 within the framework of the 61st FIFA Congress."

Blatter, 75, has served as FIFA president since 1998, while Bin Hammam, 61, is currently president of the Asian Football Confederation.

Blatter's image has taken a knock recently after he refused to look into goal-line technology despite a series of refereeing errors at the World Cup.

He has now said he expects goal-line technology will be in place by the next World Cup to be held in Brazil in 2014.

The awarding of Russia as hosts of the 2018 World Cup, with Qatar to host the 2022 event, has also seen FIFA come in for stinging criticism amidst accusations of corruption.

THAILAND SERVED WARNING: SHIP UP OR SHIP OUT

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has told Thailand's soccer clubs to improve their facilities and youth programmes or face exclusion from the continent's Champions League.

"AFC appreciates the hard work put in by the Football Association of Thailand (FAT), Thai Premier League and the clubs to improve professional football," AFC director of competitions Tokuaki Suzuki said on the governing body's website.

"But Thailand still has some weak points such as stadiums, media facilities and operations, and youth development.

"If the clubs cannot improve their facility and programme to meet the criteria, they will not be able to play in the AFC Champions League from 2012-2014."

The AFC, speaking after completing an inspection tour of Thailand, has sought to strengthen the 32-team tournament by restricting it to professional teams and demanding they smarten up their infrastructure.

The governing body also threatened to exclude Indian League clubs from local and regional competitions last August over concerns they were not complying with standards.