FIFA Elections: How Sepp Blatter Could Get Voted to a Fifth Term

As FIFA is all set to elect its next president, here’s a breakdown of the votebanks across continents. 

2 min read
FIFA President Sepp Blatter speaks at the opening ceremony of the FIFA congress in Zurich, Switzerland on Thursday, May 28. (Photo: AP)

FIFA’s 209 members are slated to elect a new President later today in Zurich.

Despite a string of scandals including the indictment of nine soccer officials this week by the US government on charges of fraud and bribery, current President Sepp Blatter has insisted that the election must go ahead as planned.

Ahead of the vote, we take a look at the regions, and the voting blocs in Friday’s balloting between Blatter and Jordan’s Prince Ali bin Hussein for the President’s post .

Nations vote by secret paper ballot. A two-thirds majority is necessary on the first ballot, and a simple majority on the second.

Europe - 53 votes

While Europe has the world’s wealthiest leagues and clubs, it has not held FIFA’s top spot since 1974, when Brazil’s Joao Havelange ousted England’s Stanley Rous 68-52. Havelange held office for 24 years.

Blatter, a 79-year-old Swiss native who had been Havelange’s top aide, defeated Sweden’s Lennart Johansson, then the president of UEFA, 111-80 on the first ballot in 1998. There were accusations even before the election that Blatter’s associates were buying votes.

A majority of the Union of European Football Associations is expected to back Ali — UEFA president Michel Platini estimates at least 45.

North and Central American and The Carribean - 35 Votes

Long considered a soccer backwater, CONCACAF gained influence during the presidency of Trinidad and Tobago’s Jack Warner, who was among those indicted this week.

Sunil Gulati, the U.S. Soccer Federation president says the U.S. and Canada will vote for Prince Ali, but most of CONCACAF is expected to support Blatter.

Africa - 54 Votes

Blatter has had strong backing voices in Africa, where few nations have powerful leagues. The Confederation of African Football issued a statement Thursday reiterating its support for Blatter.

When CAF President Issa Hayatou of Cameroon ran against Blatter in 2002, he lost 139-56.

Asia - 46 Votes

Jordan’s Prince Ali may be from Asia, but that doesn’t ensure him support from his own home federation, which issued a statement Thursday backing Blatter.

Qatar’s Mohamed bin Hammam, President of the Asian Football Confederation from 2002-11, ran against Blatter four years ago, then withdrew after accusations he helped arrange bribes to Caribbean voters.

Football Federation Australia Chairman Frank Lowy however said in a statement he planned to vote for Prince Ali. “FFA believes that profound change within FIFA is needed,” he said.

South America - 10 Votes

The continent’s soccer is dominated by Brazil and Argentina, and the confederation is expected to support Blatter. With only 10 votes, South America has the fewest of any confederation. It has far greater influence on FIFA’s executive committee, where it has three of 25 votes.

Oceania - 11 Votes

In a new development, New Zealand Football has announced that they have decided to switch sides and vote for Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, snubbing their Oceania colleagues.

In January this year, all 11 nations had declared their intent to vote for Blatter.

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