SNAP ANALYSIS-Soccer-A look at Bin Hammam's ideas to reform FIFA

Reuters

Fri, 18 Mar 08:44:00 2011

Mohamed Bin Hammam is standing for the FIFA presidency on a platform based on transparency and technology

* Bin Hammam, the president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and a member of FIFA's executive committee since 1996, says he will change the way FIFA is governed, enlarging the executive from 24 to 40 plus the president, renaming it the FIFA board and giving more seats to more nations in the decision-making process. Smaller countries would have a say in the decision-making process he says -- but this is not new. Countries like Tahiti and Tonga have long been a part of FIFA's decision-making bodies either at executive or committee level.

* He says a smaller body comprising the confederation vice-presidents would endorse any decisions taken by the larger FIFA Board, a model loosely based on a lower and upper house of parliament. In theory this is a good idea. If it worked, it would add transparency to FIFA at the highest level.

That would require FIFA's decision-makers to vote to change their own governing structure which would be a first test for Bin Hammam's political skills.

* If he defeats Sepp Blatter, president for the last 13 years, he says he would work alongside him. Blatter though, would be unlikely to remain at FIFA if he lost the election, it is inconceivable that after running the organisation since 1998 Blatter would be told what to do, how to vote, or to concede power.

* Bin Hammam says he would support the introduction of goalline technology, and extra officials at matches. There is no doubt fans around the world want to see an end to what has now become known as the "Lampard Goal" the disallowed effort from Frank Lampard in the World Cup last year which had clearly crossed the line but was missed by officials. Blatter has said for years football must retain its "human face" -- but a billion humans around the world knew that goal should have stood and the only human whose opinion counted, the referee, was left with egg on his human face by not giving the goal.

* The idea of extra officials would have the backing of UEFA president Michel Platini, a colleague of Bin Hammam's on the executive committee. Platini has championed the idea of extra officials behind the goal in Champions League, Europa League and European Championship matches. This would be another popular move with fans -- and FIFA have already sanctioned the introduction as an experiment.

Fans of course do not have a vote in the presidential elections, but, theoretically at least, they can influence the way their delegates vote.

* FIFA has had eight presidents in its 107 year history -- seven Europeans and Brazilian Joao Havelange of Belgian stock. As the first Asian president, his very election would give FIFA a new image and direction -- reinforcing decisions taken last year to take thew World Cup to new frontiers like Russia (2018) and Bin Hammam's own country Qatar in 2022.

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