Blatter submits bid for fifth term as FIFA president

Updated 29 January 2015
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Blatter submits bid for fifth term as FIFA president

PARIS: FIFA boss Joseph Blatter on Thursday submitted his candidature for a fifth term as president of world football’s governing body.
“Today (Thursday) is a key date in the electoral calendar. I’ve made my submission, now the electoral committee follow a process,” the 78-year-old Swiss wrote on his Twitter account.
The deadline for nominees to announce their candidacies falls at midnight on Thursday.
Blatter, who has held the post since 1998, had already indicated his intention to seek another term, and has wide support in Asia, Africa and Oceania.
Among his challengers are former Portugal and Real Madrid winger Luis Figo, Dutch football boss Michael Van Praag, Asian Football Confederation vice-president Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, ex-FIFA executive Jerome Champagne and former France winger David Ginola.
“It’s very difficult to beat Blatter, I know, but I think the world of football is with me,” said Ginola, 47, who is being paid £250,000 by betting company Paddy Power to throw his hat into the ring.
Ginola said the challengers were looking for “more democracy and more transparency” in football’s world governing body.
“It can’t be that football is the most popular sport, but the most inaccessible politically speaking,” Ginola told Spanish sports daily Marca.
Candidates must have played an active role in football administration for two of the past five years and be publicly nominated by five of FIFA’s 209 member associations.
Blatter’s reign has been tarnished by accusations of corruption stemming from the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.
Although the deadline is on Thursday, FIFA official Domenico Scala said it could take time before the names of the candidates are revealed.
“We cannot make a statement at the time of the date limit,” said Scala, president of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee.
“A certain time will be needed before the ad hoc electoral commission are in a position to announce the candidates.”
The election will take place in Zurich on May 29.


‘Not impossible’ that Formula E will overtake F1, says Felipe Massa ahead of Ad Diriyah race

Updated 15 December 2018
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‘Not impossible’ that Formula E will overtake F1, says Felipe Massa ahead of Ad Diriyah race

LONDON: Felipe Massa has acknowledged the possibility of Formula E becoming more popular than its more illustrious rival Formula One, ahead of his debut at the Ad Diriyah E-Prix in Saudi Arabia today.
The Brazilian ace swapped the roaring engines of F1 for the blistering battery power of Formula E this season, and told Arab News that the idea was not “impossible.”
“On overtaking, Formula 1, that’s a difficult question to answer. But what can I say, is that it’s not impossible. We just need to wait and see how things go, (whether) it is ‘when’ or ‘if,’ but it’s definitely not impossible,” he said.
“Formula E and electric cars are becoming ever-more present, but it will definitely be the future, even in the short-term future.
“It (the technology) has already arrived in some countries and will in other countries, too, it is the future. I think Formula E has used that mentality, even five years ago to build this (motorsport) category,” he added.
Massa, who raced for 15 seasons in Formula One and won 11 grands prix, was also positive about the potential of Formula E as it continues to expand after its inception in 2011 and inaugural season in 2014.
“It will take a little bit of time, it’s not easy to get things perfect straight away, but look at the past two years and how much the championship is growing.
“When I say growing, it’s not just with the quality of the drivers, but also with manufacturers’ teams and companies, who are really getting behind the sport.
“Look how many companies they are signing on as sponsors, on many different levels, even companies that sell fuel,” he said.
“We are even racing (this weekend) in a country known as an oil country. So, I think this shows how much this championship is growing.”
Massa also agreed with comments made by F1 director Ross Brawn, who recently said that the highest level of motorsport had become too predictable.
“Only certain racers can win in Formula One, but Formula E is unpredictable and a good example (of that) is that the winners in all past seasons have been different drivers,” he told Arab News.
The affable driver said he is relishing the new challenge that Formula E will pose to his skills and abilities, adding that with the exception of certain parts of the Monaco and Mexico circuits, each track will be new to him.
“I like a challenge, there is a lot to learn and a lot to test myself with and learning the car, working with the team,” he said.
“Even though I’m experienced in motorsport, with my 16 years in Formula One, this is a new test and I will have to start from zero.”
Meanwhile, defending Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne said hearing the words “world champion” after his name was “still cool.”
When asked about the challenge from teammate Andre Lotterer on the other side of the Techeetah garage, the Frenchman was full of praise for the German driver.
“He is absolutely one of the most talented drivers, and I expect him to be on the same level as I am and, for sure, it’s going to be a nice competition between us.
“It will be good for the team, as that will push everybody, and that is what we want as a team.”
The former F1 driver was complimentary about Formula E’s new “attack mode,” but voiced concerns about the danger the system posed to drivers on corners on the challenging Ad Diriyah circuit this weekend.