Nagbe: No Regrets for Attempt to Unseat FIFA Boss

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Eugene Nagbe, Sepp Blatter and Bin Hamman_web.jpg

Youth and Sports Minister Eugene Lenn Nagbe said recently that he has no regret in the role he played to unseat FIFA boss Sepp Blatter in 2010.

He was speaking after he launched the Sports Writers Association, SWAL, membership drive in Monrovia.

Nagbe, making his official public response to his support to Qatari Bin Hamman, said he did what was expected of him, with no regrets.

Qatari Bin Hamman made an unsuccessful attempt for the FIFA the presidency and he is reported to have bribed several association heads, including Liberia.

Nagbe said his move was intended to bring new blood into the leadership of FIFA, the world’s football governing body.

He accused the English leadership and the media for waging a war against Bin Hamman, a non-European who had the guts to compete for the FIFA presidency.

“Sepp Blatter has announced he is running for the 5th time as FIFA president,” Minister Nagbe said, “will that help the development of football in the world?”

Nagbe agreed with the Confederation of African Football, CAF, that there is a racist undertone against those named by the English press, for their bravery to ensure changes in FIFA’s leadership.

Nagbe said Great Britain spent six million pounds to secure the 2022 World Cup bid, and their failure has resulted in attacks against those who did not support them.

He defended Ambassador George Weah’s role in the process, and accused the United Kingdom for attacking the integrity of those who did not help their cause.

“I have no apology,” he said, “for my role in our unsuccessful attempt to unseat Sepp Blatter.”

At the FIFA Congress last Wednesday, Blatter all but confirmed he would run for re-election despite criticism that the game and organization have been tarnished by accusations of corruption during his long reign.

Britain's Sunday Times alleged that a former top FIFA representative Bin Hamman made payments to officials as part of a campaign to win support for Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

"My mission is not finished," he told officials from FIFA's 209 member associations at the close of the Congress, held in Sao Paulo.

Blatter, who has led FIFA for 16 years, ignored calls made this week by European countries not to run again in next year's FIFA election.

However, Youth and Sports Minister Nagbe wondered if the decision to run would be in the best interest of the development of world football.

Bin Hammam has not commented on his involvement since he was banned for life from soccer in 2012, while Qataris working on the project say he was not a part of their official bid.

Underlining the anger at this year's Congress over the Qatar allegations, the head of the Congolese Football Association, Omari Selemani attacked what he said was "a calumnious campaign against African football."

Selemani also played down the role of African nations in voting to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.  

The "ignorant" British media has led the attacks on Qatar, he said in a speech days after the Sunday Times published the second in a series of reports putting African soccer bosses at the centre of bribery allegations to secure the 2022 tournament for the tiny Gulf nation.

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