Sepp Blatter would certainly argue that being president of FIFA is the best job in sports. Becoming FIFA president is one of the hardest. On May 29th, with Bermuda Football Association President Larry Mussenden head of the Elections Committee Soccer's World Governing Body will hold only its fourth contested Presidential Election in the past 50 years.
Only three men have led FIFA in that time, and only eight have occupied the President's office in its 111-year history.
One candidate is trying to stop Blatter from extending his 17-year reign at the top, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan. Two other candidates, Luis Figo of Portugal and Michael van Praag of the Netherlands, pulled out.
Here is a look at the previous FIFA elections:
Joao Havelange of Brazil beat Stanley Rous of England 68-52 in the second round of voting in Frankfurt, Germany. By FIFA election rules, Havelange's 62-56 first-round lead was not decisive.
After 13 years of Rous as President, Havelange wooed voters outside Europe by promising more places at the World Cup and increased FIFA funding.
Victory for the imperious Havelange heralded a new era, driven by key FIFA sponsors like Adidas and Coca-Cola.
Gone was the Rous style of gentlemen amateurs leading with a sense of civic duty. It was swept aside by aggressive commercialism in a soon-to-be booming sports marketing industry.
Havelange faced no election challengers during his 24-year presidency. Now 99 years old, he resigned as FIFA honorary president in 2013 ahead of being stripped of the honor for taking millions of dollars in kickbacks from World Cup marketing deals in the ISL scandal.
Sepp Blatter beat Lennart Johansson of Sweden 111-80 in the first round of voting in Paris. Though Blatter, then the long-time FIFA Secretary General, did not have the required majority, UEFA President Johansson conceded by declining to contest a second round. The election is remembered for allegations that Blatter supporters from the Middle East offered some African voters $50,000 to switch sides on the eve of the vote.
Blatter beat Issa Hayatou of Cameroon 139-56 in Seoul, South Korea. Blatter retained his presidency during a period of bitter internal turmoil and financial crisis at FIFA after the collapse of World Cup marketing agency ISL the previous year.
Hayatou, the Confederation of African Football president, and Johansson led an 11-member group in the FIFA executive committee accusing Blatter of financial mismanagement. Blatter's successor as secretary general, Michel Zen-Ruffinen, filed a criminal complaint against his boss with Swiss prosecutors. After Blatter's big victory — with support even from many African voters — Zen-Ruffinen left FIFA and the criminal complaint came to nothing.
Hayatou is now a FIFA senior vice president, closely allied with Blatter and would become interim president if the position was vacated.
Blatter ran unopposed for re-election in Zurich.
Again, Blatter was unopposed in Zurich but it was a very different story. He had been challenged by former ally Mohamed bin Hammam, the Asian Football Confederation president from Qatar, who was a key campaigner in Blatter's 1998 and 2002 wins. Bin Hammam declared his candidacy months after helping persuade his executive committee colleagues to pick Qatar as 2022 World Cup host.
Days before what looked to be a tight vote, Bin Hammam withdrew and FIFA suspended him over accusations that Caribbean voters were offered $40,000 bribes. An attempt by England to postpone Blatter's "coronation" election failed.
Blatter was the only name on the ballot paper and needed just a single valid vote to win. He got 186 of the 203 votes cast.
The match is underway in Mexico, beginning very tactical from both sides to start the match, sharing equal possession.
Mexico created the first real chance crafting a lovely move down the left side of Bermuda's defense, a cross found the Mexican striker is wide open, but his header was calmly saved by Eve.
Minutes later Lee made a great sliding tackle to dispose the Mexican attacker, however, the ball fell to another Mexican player, who hit the ball first time, only to see his 18 yard effort fly over the crossbar.
Angelo Simmons was fouled from behind, the ensuing free-kick hit the Mexican wall, leading to a corner. Lewis took the corner with Burgess out leaping the Mexico Under 23 defense only to see his header is off the mark.
The referee brought the half to an end with the score still level at 0 – 0.
As expected, coach Andrew Bascome made changes at the half. Russell, Castle, Raynor, Robinson, Hill, Shakir Smith, and Hall all came on.
Mexico Under 23 team went ahead 1 – 0 in the 63rd minute as the ball is squared into the box and Marco Bueno had a great first touch and deadly finish from 15 yards out, giving no chance for Hall to save.
Five minutes later a mistake in the midfield left the defense exposed and Mexico’s Under 23 National team player Armando Zamorano capitalized on it to make it 2 – 0 lead through , Lejuan Simmons came on for Castle.
A simple tap in by Alfonso Tamay in the 84th minute gave Mexico’s Under 23 National Team a 3 – 0 lead over Bermuda.
The referee signaled the end of the match six minutes later as Mexico’s Under 23 National team defeated Bermuda 3 – 0.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Leverock & Harrisburg Advance in Open Cup
Goals from Danny DiPrima, Cardel Benbow and Ken Tribbett, earned Dante Leverock and his USL's Harrisburg City Islanders teammates a 3 – 0 win over Reading United A.C. 3-0 in their Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup second-round scrap at Exeter High School.
The City Islanders and Reading United are affiliates of Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union.
DiPrima and Benbow connected in the first 10 minutes for Bill Becher's club, which owned a 2-0 lead at the break and improved to 8-1 in its Open Cup openers.
Tribbett scored early in the second half for Harrisburg. Jason Plumhoff set up the last two City Islanders scores, while Benbow assisted on DiPrima's finish.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Blatter May Only Face One Challenger
Reports from the Netherlands say Luis Figo and Michael Van Praag will withdraw from the FIFA Presidential race in order to throw more support behind Jordanian Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein, who will be the main opponent to longtime FIFA President Sepp Blatter in the May 29th election.
The Dutch newspaper De Volksrant was first to report the development, citing sources close to FIFA. Bermuda Football Association President Larry Mussenden will head the Committee that will oversee the FIFA Elections on May 29th.
“We can confirm that there have been discussions between the candidates regarding the possibility to join forces. Our shared, collective goal is to achieve change within FIFA. It is good that there is a growing international coalition striving for that goal. That is our main focus now. It is too soon to talk about which candidate might have the biggest chance,” a source close to Van Praag told World Football Insider.
Van Praag, chairman of the Dutch football association, announced his intention to run against Blatter in January.
The three candidates reportedly met in Switzerland last week to discuss massing their votes in an attempt to unseat Blatter, who has been FIFA president since 1998 and has long been the target of accusations about FIFA’s ethics. Even if Van Praag and Figo rally support behind al-Hussein, Blatter still is expected to easily win another term as FIFA president.
However, al-Hussein is seen as the candidate with the best chance at the upset. The Princeton-educated Jordanian served on FIFA’s executive committee for four years.
A spokesman for Figo, the former FIFA player of the year, denied to Reuters that any deal was in place and also said he would not be traveling to the Netherlands on Thursday for a joint news conference with Van Praag and al-Hussein. However, the spokesman stopped short of denying that Figo would drop out of the race.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Leverock in USL Team of the Week
Harrisburg City Islander’s Dante Leverock was named to the USL Team of the Week, while his teammate Ken Tribbett named honorable mention following a 2-0 victory against the Charlotte Independence.
Leverock and Tribbett controlled the defense against the Independence helping to extend their unbeaten streak to five straight matches and remain undefeated at home.