Bin Hammam confirms Blatter challenge

Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed Bin Hammam confirmed on Friday he will run against Sepp Blatter in June’s FIFA presidential election.

The 61-year-old made the announcement during a press conference in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

Bin Hammam revealed he would overhaul the FIFA executive committee should he be elected, increasing its number of members from 24 to 40, with some believing the present set up places too much power in the hands of too few.

The Qatari called for greater transparency from football’s governing body after several corruption scandals in recent years, and announced he would establish a ‘transparency committee’ if successful in deposing Blatter.

“Today after careful study, consultation and consideration, armed with my love and passion for football, believing that our game is about fair competition, I have decided to contest,” bin Hammam said.

“I hope that Asia is going to be united behind me, but also the other confederations where I enjoy a lot of friendship and relationships. I hope also those people are going to support me.”

Blatter, 75, has been FIFA president since June 1998, when bin Hammam’s assistance was vital in seeing the Swiss national elected. But their relationship has cooled in recent years, with Blatter failing to defend bin Hammam when his position on FIFA’s executive committee came under threat in 2009.

Bin Hammam was elected president of the AFC in 2002, and has been credited with a dramatic increase in the professionalism of football on the continent.

When quizzed about his chances of securing the presidency, bin Hammam rated them ’50-50′.