Another sure victory for Blatter

Sepp Blatter
Sepp Blatter

The world governing football body FIFA holds its elective congress in May and it is expected that Joseph S. Blatter will be voted in for another term. Despite murmurs of discontent from some quarters, Blatter is almost guaranteed victory.

Despite pockets of defiance, Blatter’s Presidency remains as strong as ever. By the look of things, and unless if something changes dramatically, Blatter will go when he decides to, and until then, we will just have to stomach him.  


But why should we be bothered as Botswana? Despite his shortcomings, Blatter has done a lot for African football. Under his leadership Africa has hosted major international competitions at various levels, the biggest one being the FIFA World Cup in 2010 hosted in South Africa. He continues to endear himself to the African Associations as evidenced by his huge support for Associations in Africa. Botswana has also benefitted a lot from the FIFA Goal Projects initiative and chances are that Botswana will once again vote for Blatter. He has in a way endeared himself to most African Federations, Botswana included. Although non-committal, Botswana has always been sympathetic to Blatter, so as not to rock the boat and be seen to be going against the powerful Blatter.

Blatter was elected 8th FIFA President in 1998 succeeding Joao Havelange. He had already served FIFA in various positions for 23 years.

Over the years he has seen off the challenge of amongst others Issa Hayatou, Mohammad Bin Hamman and the aborted Ishmael Bhamjee challenge. His continued skirmishes with the English FA and Media have not bothered him much and he remains strong and resolute as ever. The continuous and persistent allegations of corruption, nepotism and outright mismanagement have not done much to shake him. He remains strong. Blatter has been very strategic as to how he canvasses for votes. He is very close to CAF President Issa Hayatou and it follows that most of Africa will be swayed to vote for Blatter on May 29th. 

Without a doubt, Blatter has done a lot for football around the world. Is he going to offer anything different? Is he going to advance football any further?

So far three other people have shown interest in standing against Blatter and chances are that they will be chewed alive. They might not even make it past the mandatory process of having atleast five member Associations support them to actually stand at the Congress.  Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, French man Jerome Champagne and French football legend David Ginola have raised their hands. All three of them have still not managed to confirm the mandatory five endorsement votes by member Associations to stand. That is their first hurdle. It is expected that only one of them will eventually make it past the January 29th hurdle where they have to be nominated by atleast five member Associations. Jerome Champagne is the one expected to atleast make it past the first hurdle, but stranger things have happened at FIFA.  

Jerome Champagne has been quoted saying he will run a clean campaign and that he would consider taking the 2022 World Cup away from Qatar if he won the election. That might actually work against him. Champagne, who has worked within FIFA before, is considered the most potent threat. David Ginola’s announcement that he wants to stand is seen by many as a publicity stunt, especially after it was revealed that his campaign is funded by a well-known bookmaker. That certainly does not augur well for someone who wants to stand for Presidency. Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein is another surprise. For him, it is even harder as he still hasn’t secured support of even his continent’s Federations.

That being said, Blatter has been a friend of Botswana football and it is most likely that he will get our vote. Unless of course if things have changed. The other three candidates, or whoever will get past the January 29 hurdle, will have a difficult time convincing Botswana to vote otherwise. 

Editor's Comment
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