Blatter assured of Kenya’s vote
Kenya alongside all the 12 member nations from East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA), are this afternoon expected to endorse the re-election of Josef ‘Sepp’ Blatter as Fifa President for a fifth four-year term.
This is despite the corruption crisis that has hit the world’s largest sporting association in the past 72 hours leading to widespread criticism of Fifa from several quarters.
Early on Wednesday seven senior Fifa officials, including vice president Jeffrey Webb, were arrested at their hotel in Zurich in a swoop by the Swiss federal Police who were acting on behalf of America’s FBI.
The suspects are set to be extradited to the United States in the coming days, where they will face charges of corruption involving a colossal Sh18 billion.
Fifa has since responded by provisionally banning the seven officials plus four other individuals “from carrying out any football related activities on a national and international level”.
However, all these allegations, criticisms and counter accusations including a threat of withdrawal by two of Fifa’s main sponsors; Visa and Hyundai, hasn’t changed Football Kenya Federation’s stance.
“Kenya will vote for Blatter, he hasn’t been implicated in any of these corruption activities we are reading about,” a top FKF official told Nairobi News on phone from Zurich.
The development also comes amid credible reports gathered by Nairobi News indicating atleast six representatives from the Cecafa region secretly met Blatter’s sole opponent Jordanian Prince Ali Bin al – Hussein, on two occasions in the past week.
One of these meeting was in Dar es Salaam while the other was in Amsterdam.
Theoretically, Blatter, 79, is expected to garner atleast 95 percent of the 102 votes from both the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
These numbers represent almost half of the votes from the 209 member confederations of Fifa, which also consist of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), Oceania Football Confederation, the South American Football Confederation and Union of European Football Associations.
Africa’s choice is seen as a “thank you” to Blatter for “supporting football activities on the continent” and increasing the annual development grants to African federations by almost 400 percent to Sh 115 million this year.
Meanwhile the Europe’s leaders and media have continued to lash out at Fifa in the wake of these corruption allegations.
“They (FIFA) are brazen, they are shameless, they are flagrant in their contempt of law. They twist the rules of the countries they visit, they manipulate, they conspire, they corrupt and diminish. Their leader is tawdry, Machiavellian politico with the air of one who feels arrogantly insulated against society’s rules.” The Daily Mail, a leading British tabloid wrote.
Blatter’s unlikely support has come from Russian President Vladmir Putin, a strong foe of America, and whose country was controversially handed the hosting rights to the 2018 Fifa World Cup.