Hammam: Challenge forced Blatter to reassess views

DOHA - Asia football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam reckons FIFA boss Sepp Blatter has been forced to come up with fresh ideas after the Qatari decided to challenge the incumbent in the June 1 presidential election.

"It seems my challenge has made Blatter reassess his view of football's future. Competition is healthy and it is vital to the continual development and progress of the sport that we all hold so close to our hearts," Hammam wrote on his blog on Monday.

"Blatter is coming out with fresh suggestions about how to run the game's governing body. These ideas would not have seen the light of day had there not been a challenge to his leadership."

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president, Blatter's only rival in the vote, was reacting to a recent letter from the Swiss to all FIFA member nations urging them to re-elect him after 13 years in charge.

"His manifesto is interesting and I applaud him for rising to the task of thinking about the future and seeking a way to enhance the manner in which FIFA can help the National Associations," the 61-year-old Bin Hammam added.

"However, it directly contradicts his earlier statements, made after I launched my own bid for the FIFA presidency; where he once claimed FIFA's budgets were already set, he is now promising additional funding for member associations should he retain his position."

The June vote in Zurich is expected to be close with Blatter now 75.

"He has been motivated to come forward with some new proposals and he now knows he cannot take his position for granted," Hammam said.

"We can be sure that both candidates will present fresh suggestions following their engagements with member nations along the campaign trail. Change is essential and a fresh approach is required for the future."