Webb denies FIFA challenge

Jeffrey Webb, president of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, is strenuously denying that he wants to be the next FIFA president and insists he will not challenge Sepp Blatter at the next elections in a few months.  

Webb is being tipped as a likely candidate for world football’s top job, but he is adamant that concentrating on his CONCACAF duties and being an excellent FIFA vice-president as well are his only immediate ambitions. Webb was speaking against the backdrop of speculation that his name will be on the ballot on May 29. 

Blatter, who is running for a fifth consecutive term as head of the corruption-hit FIFA in Zurich, will face declared challengers Frenchman Jerome Champagne and FIFA vice-president Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan. 

But Webb insists that the CONCACAF presidency – which he took over nearly three years ago – is his prime focus, though he conceded that his many admirers believe he would be a good FIFA president. 

“I have been asked [to possibly run for office of FIFA president], but as I said, my immediate focus is with CONCACAF, and my work continues there,” Webb said. He was speaking at a press conference for the CONCACAF Under-20 Men’s Championship at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Friday.  

“Who knows what lies in the future, but right now my focus and firm commitment is with being the president of CONCACAF.” Webb, 50, was elected unopposed as president of a scandal-tainted CONCACAF. He has been praised for rebuilding the image of the confederation and for game-changing initiatives. 

He conceded that the upcoming election to decide the leader of the world game for at least the next four years will be “very important for FIFA”.  

Webb added, “I am very much satisfied as I believe we have seen a real transformation in CONCACAF. “I believe that we have done and accomplished so much along this journey, yet there is so much more to be done and that’s where my immediate focus is.  

“FIFA, I believe, is at a crossroads, and whatever happens in these elections, everyone at every level of the game must never forget that football is bigger than any of us,” said the head of FIFA’s Anti-Racism and Discrimination Task Force. 

FIFA’s numerous corruption allegations during Blatter’s 17-year reign has led to heavy criticism of the 78-year-old Swiss recently. Prince Ali is the favorite to succeed Blatter, and he says he wants to clean up football’s tainted image. 

Prince Ali is a FIFA vice-president and the president of Jordanian football since 1999. He revealed his intention to stand last week. Blatter has welcomed the challenge to his position by Prince Ali, suggesting there would be no glory in winning without a proper fight. 

Jeffrey-Webb

Jeffrey Webb with Sepp Blatter. – PHOTO: RON SHILLINGFORD
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