FIFA confirms Blatter, Bin Hammam candidacies

ZURICH, April 4, 2011 (AFP) - World football's governing body FIFA on Monday confirmed the candidacies of incumbent Sepp Blatter and Qatari Mohammed Bin Hammam for the FIFA presidency.

"The FIFA general secretariat received two candidatures for the FIFA Presidency by the statutory deadline... The names of the candidates are: Joseph S. Blatter (Switzerland); Mohamed Bin Hammam (Qatar)," FIFA said in a statement.

"The election for the FIFA presidency will be held in Zurich on 1 June 2011 within the framework of the 61st FIFA Congress."

Blatter, 75, has served as FIFA president since 1998, while Bin Hammam, 61, is currently president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Blatter's image has taken a knock recently after he refused to look into goal-line technology despite a series of refereeing errors at the World Cup.

He has now said he expects goal-line technology will be in place by the next World Cup to be held in Brazil in 2014.

The awarding of Russia as hosts of the 2018 World Cup, with Qatar to host the 2022 event, has also seen FIFA come in for stinging criticism amidst accusations of corruption.

After talks with the English Football Association in London meanwhile, Blatter said ahead of a "courtesy visit" to Wembley he would answer questions about England's failed bid to stage the 2018 World Cup bid according to his conscience.

"I don't know what they will ask me but I'll give the answers I can give according to my conscience," Blatter said.

FA chairman David Bernstein, who met Blatter at Wembley, says meanwhile that the English body will study both Blatter's and Bin Hamman's manifestos carefully before the board decides ultimately who to back.

Several figures within the English game's upper echelons have been keen to see a challenge to Blatter, particularly since England's 2018 bid secured just two out of a possible 22 votes of the FIFA executive committee. And one of those was from England's FIFA vice-president Geoff Thompson.

Following Blatter's talks in London the FA said in a statement that the talks had covered a number of issues, including the World Cup bidding process.

"The meeting covered a range of topics including a review of recent decisions taken by IFAB (International Football Association Board), FIFA committee issues, the international football calendar, third-party ownership, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the process of bidding to host FIFA World Cup tournaments.

"Mr Blatter also took the opportunity to update the FA on his candidacy for a further term as FIFA president," an FA statement read.

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