LAUSANNE, Nov 20, (AFP): Asia’s powerful Olympic chief Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah said Friday that he is not bidding to succeed FIFA president Sepp Blatter because he has a bigger role to play in cleaning up world football.
“Why don’t I want to succeed Sepp Blatter? Because I think that I have a bigger role to play than president,” Sheikh Ahmad said in an interview with Swiss newspaper 24 Heures.
“I can bring more to FIFA as a coordinator and member of the Reform Commission,” said the Kuwaiti, considered highly influential in world sport owing to his leadership of both the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the Association of National Olympic Committees.
“I don’t want to stretch myself and dissipate my energy campaigning,” he continued. “I prefer to devote all my time to finding solutions for the future. I can ensure there is permanent communication between the members of all the continents.
“I have the freedom to create scenarios and have my suggestions heard if I don’t have any hidden interests.
“My duty is to put my experience to the service of world football to help FIFA to recover and I hope that together we will achieve it,” said Sheikh Ahmad, one of FIFA’s 12-member Reform Commission, which is presided over by Swiss lawyer Francois Carrard. Concerning UEFA chief Michel Platini, who has been suspended from all football-related activities for 90 days and whom he supported to succeed Blatter, Sheikh Ahmad weighed up his words.
“If we disregard the current scandal, he would be the one who would logically have replaced Blatter,” said Sheikh Ahmad. “This transition would have been perfectly normal. Everyone has known that for years. Both are my friends and on a personal level all that is very tricky.”
Part of the FIFA ethics committee enquiry is into a two million-dollar payment made by FIFA to Platini in 2011 for work he had carried out a decade earlier.
The suspension has been a severe blow to Platini’s hopes of winning the FIFA presidential election in Zurich on February 26 when Blatter stands down after 17 years in the post.
The ban means that the Frenchman cannot campaign against the five confirmed candidates until his bid is studied when his suspension expires on January 5.
In contention are Asian football chief Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, former FIFA vice president Prince Ali Al Hussein, former FIFA official Jerome Champagne, South African anti-apartheid campaigner Tokyo Sexwale and UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino.
At the end of October, Sheikh Ahmad said he believed that Sheikh Salman would benefit most from Platini’s suspension.