(ATR) FIFA presidential hopeful David Nakhid says his two Asian rivals are not fit to stand for the top job in world football.
The former Trinidad and Tobago midfielder has lodged his bid. "I submitted formally my candidacy paperwork last week in Zurich. I have the support of five members states of the international federation, but it is better that they remain anonymous for now," he confirmed to AFP on Wednesday.
The 51-year-old said Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, who submitted his presidential bid last week, and Asian football boss Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, who is mulling a bid, are not the answer to the deepening crisis engulfing FIFA.
Nine current and former FIFA ExCo officials are under investigation concerning various corruption allegations, including president Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, the governing body’s ethics committee confirmed on Wednesday.
Platini, once a frontrunner in the race to replace Blatter, is currently serving a 90-day suspension from football along with Blatter and seems unlikely to make the ballot sheet for the Feb. 26 election. Two others, Ángel María Villar Llona and Franz Beckenbauer, face ethics sanctions following investigations into allegations of wrongdoing.
"You look at Prince Ali, someone who has been head of his own association since he was 23, 16 years. Now he wants to come and talk about reform?" Nakhid was quoted by the Caribbean Media Corporation.
"He has been there 16 years by decree. What can he tell us about reform?"
Commenting on Sheikh Salman, who is battling allegations that he played a role in the imprisonment and torture of athletes in Bahrain’s 2011 anti-democracy crackdown, Nakhid suggested that he was part of the corruption-tainted past of the AFC, once led by the now-disgraced Mohamed Bin Hammam.
Nakhid, who captained his country and played club football in Switzerland and Belgium."If you know a bit about Asian football and the acrimonious battles that were waged and then you know it is going to be hard to split these guys from anything that has gone on," he was quoted in the story carried by the Antigua Observer.
FIFA has set a Oct. 26 deadline for presidential candidacies.
Sheikh Salman is expected to file his papers, while former South African government minister Tokyo Sexwale - seen as a 'clean candidate' by some - could also announce his bid in the coming few days.
Sexwale heads the FIFA task force charged with trying to resolve strained relations between the Palestine and Israeli football federations.
Written by Mark Bisson
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