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Bin Hammam confirms Blatter challenge

Asian football supremo Mohamed bin Hammam has officially declared that he will run against Sepp Blatter at the FIFA presidential election in June, claiming "the time is right" to fight the incumbent.

• John Duerden on Bin Hammam's hopes

Bin Hammam, 62, said that after "careful study" he has decided to challenge the Swiss chief, who has been president of football's governing body since 1998.

As president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Bin Hammam spearheaded his native Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup, though the nation's shock victory in December has come under plenty of scrutiny.

The move had been expected for some time, with Bin Hammam suggesting numerous times over the past 18 months that he was considering running.

"Today after careful study, consideration... armed with my love for football I have decided to contest in the upcoming FIFA presidential elections scheduled in June 2011," he revealed at the AFC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

"The time is right to contest for the FIFA presidency. I have the will to serve people and I always said competition and change is good for any organisations."

Bin Hammam is in his third term as AFC president - having held the job since 2002 - and will now look to step up to football's top administrative job, providing a first challenge for Blatter since Issa Hayatou failed to usurp the Swiss in 2002.

Asked about his chances of preventing Blatter from winning a fourth term in office, Bin Hammam said he hoped people realise that the time has come for a change.

"My chances are 50-50," Bin Hammam said. "Blatter is an experienced person, he has made significant contribution to football worldwide but I believe there is a time limit for everything.

"There is now a time for a new face and a new heir. I hope Asia will be united behind me and also I hope there will be support from other confederations.

Bin Hammam also revealed a manifesto outlining what he hopes to achieve should he be elected, including a desire to devolve power to confederations in order to make FIFA more democratic.

He pledged to introduce reforms in order to create "a more fair distribution of revenue and increased transparency", with the latter viewed as particularly important after the corruption scandal that tainted the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process.

"I propose UEFA gets four more seats, CAF four more seats, Asia four more seats, CONCACAF three more seats, CONMEBOL one more seat and OFC one more seat,'' he said.

"A new executive committee will be coming, 40 members plus the president is 41 and it will avoid as much as possible for the privilege of the casting vote going to the president.

"I will rename the Executive Committee the FIFA Board and will transfer all the duties and the responsibilities of the Executive Committee as it is today to the FIFA Board.''

"I think unless one is in the top of the organisation we cannot make changes," Bin Hammam said.

On a visit to Malaysia, Blatter reaffirmed his own intentions to seek a fourth term - 13 years after he first beat UEFA president Lennart Johansson to the post.

"I just passed on March 10, 75 years, but I think I am full of energy and I have not yet finished my work to develop football and organise competition," Blatter said. "I am willing to go on for the next four years. This is my wish and we will see what the congress will say."


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