Bin Hammam: Time for changes at FIFA

DOHA - The time has come for changes at the top of world football's governing body FIFA, Mohamed Bin Hammam told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday in which he did not rule out standing for the presidency himself this year.

The Asian Football Confederation president, asked if he would stand against FIFA president Sepp Blatter for election, smiled broadly and shrugged his shoulders on the eve of Thursday's AFC Congress and Asian Cup which gets underway on Friday.

It was the only time the 61-year-old Qatari, dressed impeccably in his flowing white thob or robe, batted away any question verbally.

Bin Hammam, who has been on the FIFA Executive Committee since 1996, was otherwise critical of Blatter.

Still on a high following Qatar's victory in the battle to secure the right to stage the 2022 World Cup last month, he has previously said he would not stand against Blatter this year.

However on Wednesday he said he was upset by the way Blatter announced that he wanted to introduce an anti-corruption committee to police FIFA.

"Some of FIFA's acts I do not approve of or agree with. I am a member of the FIFA executive committee and we never discussed this idea (the anti-corruption committee) inside the executive committee - I read about it in the media," Bin Hammam said.

"If we are serious about it, as a vision, or a point of view, it has to be brought in for executive committee to discuss it and deliberate on it, and come with a conclusion.

"I don't appreciate that 'tomorrow' we go to a meeting of FIFA and we find already that a committee has been formed, that members have been appointed and the code, or whatever, has been decided.

"So I believe, if we are serious, there has to be a serious discussion within the Executive Committee first."

Asked if he thought the time has come for a change at the highest level of FIFA, he replied: "A change is a demand for an improvement really.

"I cannot be 100 percent frank with you, but I think FIFA needs lot of improvement.

"I think there is a scope of work I can do, there is something I can present and do for international football.

"Perhaps there are other people who share the same opinion, and they have the same views as me. I have the support of people who have the vision to develop the game and improve the situation within FIFA.

"If I was given this chance, I would not hesitate to accept it." That's when he smiled and shrugged.

Bin Hammam also said that plans for the World Cup to be played in January rather than in the hot summer months of June or July in 2022 or that matches would be staged in neighbouring countries had not even been discussed.

"It's 12 years away, who knows what will happen - I have read it in the media, but nothing has been discussed yet in the executive committee."