Bin Hammam: I'm Fifa's democracy candidate

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The Independent Online

Mohamed Bin Hammam has delivered another thinly veiled attack on Sepp Blatter as Fifa yesterday confirmed that the Qatari billionaire will be the sole challenger to the incumbent in this summer's presidential elections.

Blatter yesterday marked the start of the official election campaign by lunching with Football Association chairman David Bernstein and other senior members of the English governing body at Wembley. England's failed bid for the 2018 World Cup finals was discussed and it was that disastrous outcome that has persuaded a number of influential figures in the English game that the FA should back Bin Hammam's challenge.

"Mr Blatter also took the opportunity to update The FA on his candidacy for a further term as Fifa President," said an FA statement.

Bin Hammam was less reserved in his references to Blatter yesterday. He wrote on his website: "I will let [Blatter] know that I see this election as an opportunity for us to prove that Fifa is not corrupt and that the organisation is open and democratic.

"I will tell him that throughout this campaign we should protect Fifa's integrity by ensuring that there will be no outside interference in the attempt to win votes; the influence of third parties should not be tolerated or accepted."

Bin Hammam also held himself up as the candidate for a more open, democratic Fifa. He wrote: "I am a great believer in democracy and we need to create an environment where individuals are not reluctant to stand up for what they believe in. Democracy has to be embraced by both parties in this election, by the challenger and by the party currently holding the post."

Fifa members will meet at the end of May to vote on the two candidates.

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