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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 5, 2011

AFC chief ready to challenge Blatter?

The chances of FIFA president Sepp Blatter facing a challenge for his position look to have increased following an attack from his most likely opponent.

Asian football supremo Mohamed Bin Hammam, the Qatari who delivered a stunning victory for his country in the contest to host the 2022 World Cup, today said the world governing body needed much improvement.

Bin Hammam refused to rule out standing for president, and has been angered by Blatter announcing a plan to introduce an anti-corruption committee without first running the proposal by executive committee members.

"Some of FIFA's acts I do not approve of or agree,'' said Bin Hammam. "I think FIFA needs a lot of improvement.''

Blatter has also come under attack from Bayern Munich president, Uli Hoeness, who has claimed that he "has lost control'' of FIFA.

Hoeness criticised the choice of Russia and Qatar for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, telling Sport Bild weekly: "It's a scandal how things run there. Apparently, a bid nowadays can only be successful if payments are additionally made under the table.

"One scandal comes on the heels of another.''

Blatter, meanwhile, has raised the prospect of a change to the system of three points for a win and one for a draw - he has ordered a new group to look at the laws of the game and come up with ways to make it more attractive.

The recommendations by Task Force Football 2014 are aimed to be introduced at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Blatter said on FIFA's website: "Its objective is to assess tournaments and the way in which the game is organised.

"Let me give you a few examples. At the moment three points are awarded for a win and one for a draw, which is something we can discuss and decide whether it's a good thing or not.

"Is extra-time the only option we have when a game ends in a draw? And if we stick with extra-time, how should we end games? Is it worth taking another look at the golden goal? Some people like it, some people don't.''

The task force is made up of football administrators, players and ex-players, referees and medical experts. It was set up in the wake of last year's World Cup finals in South Africa, where there was criticism about the quality and Blatter is keen to make the group matches in particular more competitive.

Blatter also claims there are too many domestic matches for clubs in countries such as England and Spain.

He added: "The other big issue is the calendar. In my view, and this is something on which [UEFA president] Michel Platini agrees, domestic championships are too long because there are too many teams and too many matches.

"Teams in leagues with 20 clubs play 38 games, on top of which they also have national cup competitions and league cups, etc.

"This also creates a conflict of interest between national teams and clubs, some of whom complain that their players come back tired or injured.

"That's not the fault of the international calendar, however, and it's a subject that ought to be discussed.''

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