Africa

Liberia's Musa Bility is running for Fifa president

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMusa Bility: ''It is in difficult moments that leaders emerge''

The wait to see who will be the first African to announce that they want to become the next president of football's world governing body Fifa is over.

Liberian Football Association President Musa Bility has thrown his hat into the ring, displaying his usual ease with standing up for what he believes in.

His reasons for running for the top job are largely driven by his desire that Africa should take its place in the global football conversation.

"If Africa does not put up a candidate, it says a lot about us," he told BBC Sport. "It shows a sense of mediocrity and that our only relevance is to vote and make leaders. I think that is not right."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Sepp Blatter is stepping down as Fifa president amid a corruption scandal

Africa's 54 Fifa members makes it the world's largest voting bloc, but there are concerns that Europe is trying to change the way decisions are made, which could dilute Africa's power.

Earlier this month, Germany's FA president Wolfgang Niersbach - who took a seat on the Fifa executive committee last month - said he wants to see changes to the current one country, one vote system.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Africa has a lot of influence in Fifa because of its 54 members

Mr Niersbach wants "a certain amount of weighted voting based on the size and relevance of the sporting associations", meaning that more powerful countries such as Germany would end up with more influence than smaller nations such as Lesotho, Swaziland or Guam.

This has caused consternation within African football.

The continent has long been aware of the pivotal role that it holds in the global game by virtue of its voting size, and it does not want to let it go.


Fifa members per region

  • Africa - 54
  • Europe - 53
  • Asia/Australia - 46
  • North and Central America - 35
  • Oceania - 11
  • South America - 10

Mr Bility wants to smooth things over and says that with "antagonism very high" the world "needs a unifier".

He wants to listen to the "genuine concerns" of the European nations about things like corruption without ceding control to them.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Bility thinks that poorer nations should be getting more money to support football devlopment

On another issue, Mr Bility thinks the poorer nations are still not getting enough from the much-lauded Goal Project, which awards member associations $250,000 (£157,000) every year, and the Financial Assistance Programme (FAP) which gives out one-off payments of $400,000.

"I want to redefine our partnerships to see how those partnerships will directly benefit member associations. Africa and Asia particularly have been left behind. The Goal Project and the FAP are not enough."

Such a stated aim may well attract interest from Asia and Africa but it is not clear if it will be enough to get him the Fifa presidency.

It is admittedly a long shot but in Mr Bility's mind it is an effort worth taking for the continent's reputation.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites