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AFC chief Bin Hammam tells Blatter not to lose touch

10 October 2008 07:55

LONDON (AFP) - Mohamed Bin Hammam, president of the Asian Football Confederation, has warned FIFA president Sepp Blatter that he could lose touch with the modern game if he stays in the job for too long.

Blatter has been in charge of the global game's governing body for 10 years and shows no sign of relinquishing his grip on the sport's most powerful position.

But Bin Hammam, a FIFA Executive Member since 1996, believes any president will inevitably stop being a force for modernisation after a long period in power.

While he has no complaints about Blatter's reign, Bin Hammam is keen to bring in a worldwide term limit that can curtail each presidential spell after a set number of years to make sure the top jobs are always filled by leaders with fresh ideas.

"I want to see a term limit for the presidents of all of the confederations, FIFA included," Bin Hammam told reporters in London.

"The more you stay, the longer you are in power, whether you like it or not and no matter who you are, the less evolution there can be. You create statutes to save you.

"In Asia we are trying to bring in statutes that are transparent. There are some that you feel are meant to suit one person.

"Some confederations have inherited these statutes, so if the international governing body will insist on a limititation related to the presidencies of the national associations and FIFA, I think that will be a great help.

"Blatter has proposed that some years back and it was rejected by the executive committee."

Bin Hamman's reputation as a moderniser has seen him mentioned as a potential successor to Blatter. The 60-year-old helped create the Asian Champions League and oversaw Australia's move to the AFC, but he played down his own ambitions.

"It is too early to talk about that yet," he said. "We have a very active president, he is very healthy and I am one of those conservatives who would like to see stability within the football family. We just do not want people to create chaos.

"He has a mandate until 2011, so there is no need to talk about it."

Bin Hammam could be overseeing a World Cup in 2018 if Australia's bid is successful. Qatar have also been linked with a bid but he insisted a single candidate would be preferrable.

"Qatar's bid is only speculation, so far I have only seen one serious bidder, which is Australia," he said.

"They came forward and said we want to host the World Cup in 2018 and I am defintely very much in support of them and for the World Cup to take place in Asia again after 2002.

"We have seen the positive impact of the World Cup when it was orgainised in Asia in terms of reviving the interests of the people, especially those who are involved in governing the football.

"Having the World Cup again in Asia would have a very positive impact.

"I support an Asian bid, that is going to be much easier for me and my colleagues on the comittee if only one bid comes from Asia, that would be an advantage.

"I do not want to see it as a competition between Asia and other countries."

If Asia doesn't get the World Cup, Bin Hammam would have no complaints if England was awarded the tournament for only the second time.

"I think England would have fairly good chances. We all feel, in general, that every three times (12 years) the World Cup has to come to Europe," he said.

"England does have positive points - they are the birthland of modern football and have hosted the World Cup once and that was more than 40 years ago."

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