Asian chief Bin Hammam calls for changes in Fifa
The time has come for changes at the top of world soccer’s governing body Fifa, Mohamed Bin Hammam told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday in which he did not rule out standing for the presidency himself this year.
The 61-year-old Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president, who had previously hinted he would not stand against Sepp Blatter this year, said he was upset by the way Blatter announced that he wanted to introduce an anti-corruption committee to police Fifa. Blatter said last week he would put the idea to Congress which meets at the end of May.
“I am a member of the Fifa executive committee and we never discussed this idea (the anti-corruption committee) inside the executive committee - I read about it in the media,” Bin Hammam said on the eve of the AFC Congress in his native Qatar.
“I don’t appreciate that we go to a meeting of Fifa and we find already that a committee has been formed, that members have been appointed and the code, or whatever has been decided.”
“I think Fifa needs a lot of improvement.”
Asked if he would consider standing for election as president later this year, Bin Hammam smiled and shrugged.
Meanwhile, the muted bidding process to host the 2015 Asian Cup was concluded on Wednesday when Bin Hammam confirmed sole bidders Australia had been selected.
The lack of competition to Australia, who were granted a six-month extension last year to finalise their bid book to host the 16-team premier Asian tournament, was not a concern to Bin Hammam.
“In 2007 we were having talks with Australia, India and Uzbekistan and Iran and today of course, if we re-open the bid, I am sure there will are four, five or six countries bidding,” Hammam told Reuters.
“We have a lot of interest in Asian Cup and I have been asked personally by so many member associations to re-open the bid for 2015,” the Qatari said from his hotel ahead of the 2011 tournament.
The decision came five years after the Socceroos left the Oceania Football Confederation to join the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
The announcement provided some consolation for Australia, who were aggrieved after missing out to Qatar in the vote to host the 2022 World Cup last month.
“Australians are about to see just how big this tournament is with an expected television audience of more than one billion watching sixteen quality teams compete from some of the biggest nations in Asia including Japan, Korea, India and China,” Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy said in a statement.
“It is a great coup to host this event and it will be a catalyst for taking the game forward in Australia over the next few years.”
The 2011 Asian Cup kicks off on Friday with hosts Qatar playing Uzbekistan.
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