Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
• Presidential election candidates confirmed amid Platini uncertainty
• Blatter’s revelation of ‘gentleman’s agreement’ before World Cup votes sparks controversy
• Sheikh Salman once again denies human rights allegations
• Global bank discloses it is being investigated over FIFA transactions
FIFA has confirmed that seven candidates have been legitimately proposed for the Presidential election set to take place on 26 February 2016. The deadline for member associations to notify the FIFA general secretariat of a candidate was four months before the election – 26 October 2015. The candidates proposed are listed as ‘HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, Mr Musa Hassan Bility, Mr Jérôme Champagne, Mr Gianni Infantino, Mr Michel Platini, H.E. Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Mr Tokyo Sexwale.’
According to the BBC, former Tinidadian footballer David Nakhid was deemed ineligible to run despite submitting a candidacy due to the fact he’ only received four valid football association nominations.’ Candidates require five under FIFA’s electoral regulations. Michael Platini, who is currently ‘provisionally banned from taking part in any football-regulated activity’, willnot have his candidature processed as long as his ban is in place. Platini’s 90-day ban is currently set to expire on 9 January 2016, but if it is extended to the extra 45 day additional period the ban would only expire on 20 February, only six days ahead of the 26 February elections. Either way Platini will have to pass an integrity check required under the Electoral Regulations, which has cast doubt over his candidacy.
However the sports news site, www.insidethegames.biz, has reported that Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, a member of FIFA’s ruling Executive Committee, has said that FIFA Presidential candidate Sheikh Salman will withdraw if Platini is allowed to stand. One of the other candidates, UEFA’s General Secretary Gianni Infantino, is also reportedly going to step aside should Platini, UEFA’s President be allowed to stand. According to Sheikh Ahmad, ‘a lot of the candidates would withdraw’ should Platini stand. Both Infantino and Sheikh Salman entered the race following Platini’s suspension, and Sheikh Ahmad told Reuters that he hoped there would a coordination election ‘deal’ between the respective candidates from UEFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
In an interview with Russian news agency TASS this week, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has reportedly that it was ‘agreed’ that the 2018 World Cup go to Russia after a ‘discussion’ took place, allegedly before the vote itself. In an interview with the Financial Times on Friday, Blatter reportedly said that there was a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ among FIFA’s leaders that the World Cups would be awarded to ‘two superpowers’ – Russia in 2018 and the USA in 2022.
In response to the comments made to TASS, the BBC reported that the COO of England’s 2018 World Cup bid, Simon Johnson, told BBC Radio 5 Live that England’s Football Association ‘had every right to bring legal actions against FIFA’.
FA Chairman Greg Dyke, giving evidence to the UK Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport on 28 October said that Blatter’s quotes were “something to investigate”. The Telegraph has now reported that Klaus Steohlker, Blatter’s ‘long time adviser’ has admitted that ‘behind-the-curtain talks’ between Blatter and other senior FIFA executives were conducted to ensure that Russia was awareded the 2018 World Cup.
According to the website www.worldfootballinsider.com, Russia’s 2018 World Cup Chief Executive Alexey Sorokin has denied that Russian officals knew that they had awarded the tournament before the vote had happened. Geoff Thompson meanwhile, the English representative on the FIFA Executive Committee throughout the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids, has reportedly said that he ‘has no knowledge of the rigged votes’ that allegedly took place.
Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the Bahraini FIFA Presidential candidate, has issued a statement from his campaign office saying that, ‘Recent allegations are entirely false and categorically denied by Sheikh Salman.’ The statement continued that ‘Sheikh Salman had absolutely no involvement in the identification, investigation, prosecution or mistreatment of any individuals as has been alleged.’ Earlier this week Salman told the BBC that the allegations that he was complicit in the torture of footballers, were “nasty lies”.
The financial news agency Bloomberg Business has reported that US and Swiss authorities are ‘investigating’ Credit Suisse Group’s relationships with the FIFA officials that were named in the US criminal indictment earlier this year. This reportedly makes Credit Suiss the first bank to disclose that it is being questioned in relation to the criminal investigation. The investigation is reportedly into whether the bank ‘failed to observe anti-money laundering laws in their dealings with FIFA.’
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