They’ve got the whole world in their hands…or at least the destination of the next two World Cups, which is still more valuable than 99% of any ‘voting’ privileges you can possibly find, and arguably more valuable than a seat on the UN Security Council.
The 24 men who form FIFA’s executive committee are scheduled to select which nations will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups on 2 December 2010 (merely 6 weeks away). Vote-selling allegations are nothing new in an environment as secretive and financially lucrative as FIFA’s top hierarchy, but recent events have forced FIFA itself to take notice of claims of corruption and bribery against two of it’s officials.
The BBC did a stand-up job in unearthing who comprises the 24-man FIFA executive committee – we’re going to go a step further and give you an inside story into each man’s history and voting inclinations.
One president, eight vice presidents and 15 members, appointed by international confederations and associations, will decide where the next two World Cups will be hosted. Let’s meeet them.
Sepp Blatter (Switzerland)
Lives: Zurich, Switzerland
A politician’s politician. From covering up potentially damaging car accidents back home to humiliating World Cup winners in an attempt to appease his audience (and this is before we talk about his strongarm tactics to keep his position as FIFA president for over 12 years), Sepp Blatter will say anything, do anything, to stay in power. Chief concerns include keeping international football strong in face of competition from domestic leagues and finding new ways to make FIFA more money.
He loves to score points against England, and England will be potentially the most lucrative option for 2018 for FIFA, but, believe it or not, there’s little room for corruption there, so Russia might be a more amenable option.
SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT (1)
Julio Grondona (Argentina)
Lives: Buenos Aires
Founder of Arsenal Futbol Club and president of his country’s football association.
South America are not going to be hosting either the 2018 or 2022 World Cups, so it’s open season on where Grondona’s vote will go. BBC reports that “Grondona was understood to have wanted the English FA to face charges after former chairman Lord Triesman made bribery allegations in May about rival countries’ attempts to secure the 2018 tournament.” I generally find that there’s no smoke without fire, and those who protest most vehemently typically have something to hide.
Still, he’s too old to be around when Argentina’s next chance for a World Cup comes along, so we’ll give him a pass. Readers with a more in-depth knowledge of South American / Argentinian football may differ. Remember, this is a man who used Diego Maradona purely for political reasons – first bringing him in to appease the fans, and then sacrificing him when it was most convenient to do so.
VICE PRESIDENTS (7)
Issa Hayatou (Cameroon)
Lives: Yaounde, Cameroon
Hayatou has been the president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) for 23 years and was a member of the organising committee for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He lost out to Blatter when he put himself forward for the Fifa top job in 2002.
Africa are not in contention for the 2018 World Cup and haven’t put forward a candidate for the 2022 World Cup, so it’s reasonable to assume that the African vote is the one most open for … well, let’s say those are the most attractive ones.
Mong Joon Chung (Korean Republic)
A Korean MP, he is president of his national football association and speaks English, German, Japanese and Chinese as well as his mother tongue.
South Korea (Korean Republic, if you want to be pedantic) are bidding for the 2022 World Cup. He’s also aiming to stand for FIFA presidency in the next elections. How many favours will he be able to call in?
Jack Warner (Trinidad and Tobago)
Lives: Arouca, Trinidad and Tobago
BBC calls him ‘colourful’ and highlights an inconsequential media spat with Roy Keane as their introduction to him. Others would introduce him as a vindictive, thieving, kleptomaniac. You can read our interview with investigative reporter Andrew Jennings on, amongst other topics, vote rigging and ticket scandals in FIFA, in which Warner and Blatter feature prominently.
Bottom line, CONCACAF wants a World Cup, and the USA bid in 2022 is the best bet for it. That means they will back, in 2018, anyone who can give them the best backing next time around. Regardless of his tirades against England or anyone else, that is what it will boil down to.
Angel Maria Villar Llona (Spain)
Lives: Madrid, Spain
A leading figure in the joint Spanish/Portuguese bid to stage the 2018 World Cup, he is president of Spain’s football federation.
Yes, people who are bidding for the World Cup are also on the voting committee. At least we know they’ll get some votes, right?
A former Spain and Athletic Bilbao midfielder who worked as a lawyer after he hung up his boots, Villar can be expected to look solely after Spain’s interests. Whether that will be enough to get them the World Cup is unlikely.
Michel Platini (France)
Uefa president and a gifted former player who won the European Championship with France in 1984. You can read more about Platini and Blatter here, but what’s important to note is that his vote will be consistent with his policies as Uefa president. After the difficulties experienced in the buildup to Euro 2012, will he favour a Russian bid, or indeed, a joint bid? Or will he overcome his ideological conflict with English football and vote for England as the safest, most lucrative option for FIFA?
Reynald Temarii (Tahiti)
The youngest man on the committee (with most other men old enough to be his father), he is also one of the two Fifa officials at the centre of vote-selling allegations by the Sunday Times.
A native of Tahiti, he broke new territory in 2004 by becoming the first Pacific Islander to be president of the Oceania Football Confederation. The organisation, based in New Zealand, covers nations including Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Fiji. Oceania’s 2022 vote is going to Australia, but surely they would follow Australia’s lead in 2018 too and not push for the highest bidder?
Temarii has rejected the allegations but has been provisionally replaced as president of OFC by David Chung.
Geoff Thompson (England)
Chairman of the Football Association for nine years until 2008, he was once general manager of Doncaster Rovers. He was part of the five-strong team which delivered England’s World Cup bid book to Fifa in May. Shortly afterwards, the magistrate replaced Lord Triesman as bid chairman when his predecessor quit following allegations he had accused Russia and Spain of bribery. Lord Triesman’s comments never looked fishy even in the maelstorm that was created around them, and look utterly reasonable now.
Michel D’Hooghe (Belgium)
Lives: Bruges, Belgium
Doctor who specialises in sports medicine and rehabilitation. Chairman of Fifa’s medical committee. The president of Belgian side FC Bruges also speaks English, Spanish, French and German. In early October 2010, he told BBC Sport he was concerned by the number of serious footballing injuries caused by dangerous tackles. “I have two eyes, where I can see what happens – how some acts are really criminal,” he said. It would be good to see some concrete action from FIFA on dangerous tackling, if not on bribery.
Ricardo Terra Teixeira (Brazil)
Boss of the Brazilian Football Confederation, he will have completed more than 25 years in charge when his country hosts the 2014 World Cup in Rio. Married Lucia, a daughter of former Fifa president Joao Havelange, but the couple divorced in 1997 after nearly 30 years of marriage. Has been on the executive committee of Fifa for 16 years. Given the allegations of corruption against Havelange and Blatter, and Teixeira’s longevity in managing the game, where do you think Brazil’s vote will go too (especially since they don’t host either 2018 or 2022)?
Mohammed Bin Hammam
Lives: Dohar, Qatar
Railed against Sepp Blatter’s ‘autocracy’ in FIFA but soon insisted that he would not challnege Sepp Blatter in next year’s elections. Soon after Qatar made their World Cup bid for 2022. The Asian Football Confederation chief has overseen the creation of the Asian Champions League and the introduction of Australia into the confederation. Has he traded in his bid for presidency for some votes?
Senes Erzik (Turkey)
Lives: Istanbul, Turkey
Credited as a leading architect in the improved fortunes of Turkish football at the turn of the century, when Galatasaray won the 2000 Uefa Cup and the national side were third at the World Cup two years later. The Turkish FA president and Uefa vice-president is a fan of classical music. A former Unicef marketing director and boss of a big pharmaceuticals firm, he has been on Fifa’s executive committee for 14 years.
Chuck Blazer (USA)
Lives: New York City
General secretary of Concacaf, the governing body of football in north and central America, and the Caribbean. Close friends with Jack Warner. Make of that what you will.
BBC puts it this way: “Takes the business of choosing a World Cup host nation seriously. Has conducted his own visits, in addition to official Fifa inspections, to European candidates.”
Worawi Makudi (Thailand)
President of Thailand FA.
Nicolas Leoz (Paraguay)
Lives: Asuncion, Paraguay
President of Conmebol, the South American Football Confederation, for more than 20 years. A former sports journalist, lawyer and part-time history professor.
Junji Ogura (Japan)
Lives: Tokyo, Japan
Considered one of the most powerful men in Asian football, he is vice-president of the national FA and a former general secretary. His country is bidding for the 2022 World Cup, positioning it as a hi-tech option, with 3D TV at fan festivals and enhanced use of high-definition cameras at matches. He’ll be doing a lot of hi-tech stuff between now and December 2nd, I’m sure.
Amos Adamu (Nigeria)
Lives: Abuja, Nigeria
President of the West African Football Union, Adamu is one of two Fifa members at the centre of vote-selling allegations. He has, like Temarii, rejected the allegations.
Outspoken on Nigerian football issues, he labelled his country’s football federation ‘absurd’ in May 2010 for replacing Shaibu Amodu with Swede Lars Lagerback as national coach for the World Cup. When the team were knocked out in the group stage, a row erupted over federation elections which saw Fifa suspend Nigeria from international competition because of government interference.
Marios Lefkaritis (Cyprus)
Lives: Limassol, Cyprus
Honorary president of Cyprus FA, the self-styled entrepreneur is a board member of fuel firm Petrolina. Has also served on the executive committee for Uefa, European football’s governing body.
Jacques Anouma (Ivory Coast)
Lives: Ivory Coast
Replaced Ousseynou Dieng as chairman of the Ivory Coast Football Federation following the team’s poor performance at the 2002 African Cup of Nations in Mali.
Franz Beckenbauer (Germany)
Lives: Kitzbuehel, Austria
The only player to captain (1974) and manage (1990) a team to World Cup victory – both times with West Germany. Led Germany’s successful bid to host the 2006 World Cup and chaired the organising committee. He’s the man people say is best positioned to be the next FIFA president – if he chose to stand against Blatter.
Rafael Salguero (Guatemala)
Lives: Guatemala City, Guatemala
Played for various clubs in Guatemala. Former chairman of Guatemalan FA, he founded the Clasicos 16 club. A solicitor, he welcomed England 2018 ambassador David Ginola, and other bid supporters, to Guatemala for a visit in February, where a special coaching session was held for pupils at a school supported by the English charity ‘Education for the Children. If you remember, England 2018 bid had Beckham going to T&T to meet Jack Warner too.
Hany Abo Rida (Egypt)
Lives: Cairo, Egypt
Member of the World Cup organising committee. Spent a period as treasurer of the Egyptian Football Association. Is believed to have encouraged England to play a pre-World Cup match against Egypt and the visitors nearly pulled off a shock at Wembley in March, taking an early lead before going down to three second-half goals.
Vitaly Mutko (Russia)
Former President of Russian Football Union and Zenit Petersburg. He was also once deputy mayor of the city. Played a lkey role in helping Russia bring in Dutchman Guus Hiddink as coach in 2006. Member of the supervisory board for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and a leading figure in Russia’s bid to host the World Cup four years later.