South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan has surprisingly pulled out of the race for a place on the Fifa council in a bizarre twist that now leaves the Confederation of African Football (Caf) in an unprecedented election crisis.
Jordaan‚ who has long held ambitions of sitting on the all-powerful Fifa cabinet‚ pulled out at the same time as his main rival‚ leaving not enough candidates to fill Africa’s places on the Council.
This means another election will be needed in the coming months.
South Sudan’s Chabur Goc Alei was the only man standing between Jordaan and a place on the council and has also withdrawn.
The Safa president was therefore unopposed in his category and assured of a seat in the inner sanctum of world football’s governing body.
But Jordaan also pulled out of the race on Monday‚ in a letter sent at 3pm‚ just hours before Fifa published results of integrity checks into the candidates.
Attempts to contact him for comment on Tuesday were unsuccessful as he was scheduled to travel back to South Africa from Zambia.
Jordaan’s withdrawal came just days after success in a month-long legal fight he had with Caf to move a potential powerful opponent from his category in elections.
Jordaan was originally one of four male candidates fighting for two places in the Open category of the African elections for the Fifa Council‚ which are being held in Addis Ababa next week.
Jordaan argued successfully with Caf over the last month that Egypt’s Hany Abu Rida could not compete in the Open category as he had originally entered in the category reserved for candidates from Arabic-speaking countries.
Candidates who put themselves forward for election must state which category they want to contest and may not then change.
With Abou Rida out of the way‚ Jordaan was left to take on Almamy Kabele Camara of Guinea and Alei with the top two in the voting going to the Fifa Council.
But now there is just a single candidate left and Caf will have to organise a new election for the other place. This will likely happen in May ahead of the Fifa Congress in Bahrain.
Fifa late last night announced that 10 candidates had passed the integrity checks but because Jordaan had already withdrawn passed no comment on his status.
Africa has seven Fifa Council places and next week’s Caf Congress in the Ethiopian capital will determine the winners in different categories.
One place is reserved for the winner of the Caf presidential election and another for a female candidate.
That will go to Lydia Nsekera of Burundi‚ who is the only woman in the field.
The other five places are divided into language groups and an Open category.
There is one place and two candidates in the Arabic language category‚ one place and two candidates in the Anglophone category one place for two Francophone candidates.
Camara of Guinea is now elected from the Open category with one other place still be filled with Jordaan and Alei mysteriously dropping out.
– TMG Digital