Bin Hammam faces tough task to oust Blatter
Mohamed Bin Hammam rates his chances of beating Sepp Blatter to become the new Fifa president as no more than "50-50".
There will be plenty of people who will think that's a tad optimistic.
Blatter is a formidable sports politician. And while he may not carry the full support of his excecutive committee, he enjoys deep and loyal support from the 208 member countries who will decide this contest on 1 June in Zurich.
The last time Blatter faced a challenge was back in 2002 from the head of African football Issa Hayatou. He won by a landslide polling 139 votes to Hayatou's 56 - a remarkable margin of victory considering the campaign was overshadowed by a series of allegations of corruption and mismanagement of Fifa's finances.
In many ways the situation is strikingly similar now. The bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups led to yet more allegations of corruption against senior Fifa officials and although he was not directly implicated, Blatter is being blamed for Fifa's lack of transparency and the decision to award Qatar the 2022 tournament.
Like Hayatou almost a decade ago, Bin Hammam will run as the "clean hands" candidate; the coming man who will clean up Fifa.
In his speech to reporters in Kuala Lumpur this morning he vowed to make Fifa more transparent, less bureaucratic and to spread the organisation's vast wealth more evenly.
It is that wealth which makes this a very different contest to 2002. Fifa's finances at that time were in a terrible mess following the collapse of marketing partner International Sports and Leisure (ISL).
The governing body very nearly went bust. Today they are sitting on a surplus of $1.28billion (£800m) thanks to greater than expected profits from the 2010 World Cup.
For the four year cycle from 2007 to 2011, Fifa enjoyed a 59% increase on the revenues generated during the 2006 World Cup in Germany allowing Fifa to record a surplus of $631m (£394m). And to think South Africa was supposed to be the big financial gamble for Fifa.
Much of that money is then handed out to the 208 member associations (each of them have a vote, remember) via the Goal project, which was set up in 1999, one year after Blatter first became president.
According to Fifa's financial report for 2010, each association got an extraordinary payment of $550,000 (£343,750). Each confederation got $5m (£3.125m).
In many of the poorer nations which make up the "Fifa family", as Blatter might put it, this is serious, serious money.
Bin Hammam is head of the Goal committee so can claim some of the credit. But Blatter's campaign will focus on his track record of making Fifa, and the member associations, rich.
So does Bin Hammam stand a chance?
There is no doubt he is a serious player. As the head of Asian football he will obviously have support in his own confederation.
He also enjoys decent support in Africa and Europe.
He is particularly close to Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore and the Football Association are likely to support him in the election despite divisions on the main board over the issue.
New chairman David Bernstein doesn't want to do anything which might jeopardise building bridges with Fifa and wants to leave it until the last minute to decide who might offer the FA the best chance of restoring relations.
But having lashed out at Fifa and Blatter after the World Cup 2018 bid humiliation the FA may feel it has nothing to lose in backing the challenger.
Whatever the FA decides, the European vote will be crucial and Uefa president Michel Platini's role in the election is fascinating.
The former France player is a possible successor to Blatter but there is a feeling that their relationship has soured in recent years.
Bin Hammam's entrance into the contest forces Platini to make a decision - switch back to supporting Blatter in the hope he can take over in 2015 as his anointed successor or use his influence to get Bin Hammam elected. That of course risks him having to wait until Bin Hammam has served his time as president which, as the Qatari is only 61, could be a long wait.
But Bin Hammam, surprisingly, does not necessarily enjoy the full support of Asia and Blatter has spent the last week building his own power base there.
The key may turn out to be the bloc of North American, Central American and Carribean nations controlled by Jack Warner.
There's another interesting question: does Bin Hammam really represent change? He has been on the Fifa executive committee for 15 years, has been a key ally of Blatter's and, afterall, was the driving force behind Qatar's successful World Cup campaign.
Will he really clean up Fifa or is he just another insider?
He has already set out his ideas to expand the executive committee, to streamline decision making and to build better relations with the professional leagues and clubs of Europe.
His vision for change will play well in the media but all that will have little influence over the Fifa congress which is not dominated by concerns over public image or the interests of big football clubs and leagues.
Here the minnows of the game hold the upper hand and Blatter has had them eating out of his for years.