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.


What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

Updated 19 April 2018
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What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

  • Al-Hilal won their 15th top-flight title this season.
  • Big summer for Saudi Arabia football with the Green Falcons at the World Cup.

Now the Saudi Professional League season is over for another year Arab News can look back at their title tilts and what the big four clubs have to do over the coming months ahead of the next season.

 



AL-HILAL

Finished: Champions

Coaching situation: Ramon Diaz was in charge for much of the season, but was fired in February after setbacks in the Champions League.
Assistant Juan Brown did Okay in the final stretch, but a top-class coach could get more out of this team.

Squad priorities: A reliable goalscorer to support Omar Khribin and with veteran defender Osama Hawsawi leaving for pastures new, a replacement center-back with leadership qualities. Welcoming back the major stars — Carlos Eduardo, Khribin, Nawaf Al-Abed and Salem Al -Dawsari — will be a major boost.

Aim next season: Win the AFC Champions League

 



AL-AHLI

Finished: Second

Coaching situation: Sergiy Rebrov is out of contract at the end of June. His future is likely to depend on how the team fares against Al-Sadd in the second round of the AFC Champions League in May.

Squad priorities: There is not much wrong. The Jeddah giants were the highest scorers in the league last season and had the second best defense. Keeping star midfielder Leonardo fit will help as will a little cover in the center of defense. Star striker Omar Al-Somah fell out with the coach in a public way in the penultimate game of the season. It may be that one of them has to go. The Syrian has been player of the year for three years and has a longer contract than Rebrov.

Aim next season: Win the league. Maintain good performances in Asia.


 
AL-NASSR

Finished: Third

Coaching situation: Krunoslav Jurcic arrived in January and the former Croatian national team boss produced an upswing in results. May just be a temporary appointment and it needs to be sorted quickly.

Squad priorities: Looks good with the Saudi Arabia national team keeper, a strong center-back pairing of Omar Hawsawi and Bruno Uvini and the full-back position seemingly sorted with the January signing of Saad Suhail. They probably need a defensive midfielder and have to keep Junior Kabananga. The DR Congo striker has shown enough in his few weeks at the club to suggest that he could be a real star next season, especially with Leonardo pulling the strings behind him.

Aim next season: A genuine title challenge and getting through the play-offs into  the 2019 AFC Champions League.

 


AL-ITTIHAD

Finished: Ninth

Coaching situation: A bottom half finish is unacceptable for a team with Al-Itithad’s stature and history. Chilean coach Jose Luis Sierra may find that winning domestic cups is no substitute for challenging for the title.

Squad priorities: There is too much reliance on players such as Carlos Villanueva, a creative spark in the team, and Fahad Al-Ansari, the midfield engine, who are the wrong side of 30. The possible return of star winger Fahad Al-Muwallad will help, but an introduction of energy is needed.

Aim next season: Top three and, if the team wins the King’s Cup, a good showing in the 2019 AFC Champions League.