Johannesburg - South African football chief Danny Jordaan’s seeking of greater representation for African countries in future World Cups and on the Fifa executive have been effectively sidelined amid the controversy around Qatar’s 2022 Cup bid and president Sepp Blatter.
Earlier, the Safa president had made no bones about his intention to take on the big guns of Europe in a quest to gain greater representation for Africa.
Africa has five teams among the 32 in the World Cup this year, with Europe boasting 13 teams, South America six, and Central/North America and Asia providing four each.
On the Fifa executive, the European representation is nine, South America and Africa four each, the Asian and neighbouring bloc numbering five and North America three.
Jordaan said it was the numerically strong European bloc who call the shots.
“It’s always thrown in our face that no African team has ever gone beyond the quarter-final stage.
“When you (look at) the 10 World Cups won by European countries and the nine by those from South America, it is not easy putting up an argument for greater representation. But I’m hoping for a breakthrough for at least a semi-final berth for an African team in Brazil.”
Meanwhile, Uefa president Michel Platini has withdrawn his support for Sepp Blatter, plunging world football into open warfare.
“I am supporting him no longer, it’s finished,” said Platini. “He knows it, I told him. I think Fifa needs a new breath of fresh air.”
Platini, who himself had to come out last week and deny he had been pressured by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to vote for Qatar in the controversial and scandal-tainted bid race for the 2022 World Cup, said he agreed with his fellow Uefa members that it was time for 78-year-old Blatter, who has been in power since 1998, to call it a day when his mandate ends next year.
“I share the European position,” said 58-year-old Platini. “A new mandate for him would not be good for football. But he is a person one has to respect, and he has all my respect.”
Blatter, who has been under pressure over the controversy-plagued 2022 World Cup, had declared to the Fifa Congress in Sao Paulo on Wednesday that he was ready for a new mandate despite having said in 2011 he would not seek re-election for a fifth term. “I’m ready to accompany you in the future,” he said to the assembled Fifa members - though his announcement was greeted by some boos.
Platini indicated that he and his members had not been happy with the Congress.
Blatter was helped by a congress vote not to consider age- and term-limits for officials. He later denied having any designs on a life-time presidency
“Well, it wasn’t the Europeans who blocked the reforms, it was clear who voted against the age limit,” said Platini.
However, Platini still would not commit himself to a run for the Fifa presidency. At present, there is just one candidate - former Fifa deputy secretary-general Jerome Champagne.
Sapa and AFP