MONACO (AP) - Touted as a potential FIFA president, Tokyo Sexwale is “weighing all options” before deciding if he will enter the governing body’s election race.
The South African businessman and FIFA anti-discrimination task force member has support from some football officials to succeed Sepp Blatter.
“I am just applying my mind and I will make it up in due course,” Sexwale told reporters in a conference call on Thursday. “The question does not arise at this stage of what my final decision will be in October.”
FIFA set an Oct. 26 deadline for contenders to be nominated by at least five national federations. The election is set for Feb. 26.
Michel Platini is the current favorite, and the UEFA president holds a first news conference Friday since launching his campaign last month.
While Platini can expect widespread support in Europe, South America and North America, he is less likely to get some of Africa’s 54 FIFA votes.
Sexwale could be the strongest contender from Africa, where longtime football leader Issa Hayatou is thought unlikely to make a second FIFA bid after losing heavily to Blatter in 2002.
Sexwale spoke during a FIFA conference call about his work leading a panel trying to improve Israeli-Palestinian football relations.
“My focus now is just working for FIFA,” said the former Robben Island political prisoner and confidante of Nelson Mandela. “I am so honored by the fact that FIFA has asked me to play a role in its structures.”
Sexwale said he would visit Israel and the Palestinian territories next month to re-start FIFA’s work building trust between the two football bodies, who met Wednesday at FIFA headquarters.
Palestinians have long claimed that Israeli security restrictions limit movement of their players, visiting teams and football equipment. Israeli football officials have said that political decisions are beyond their control.
Sewale said his task was “not to solve intractable problems of the Middle East.”
“There is no harm in giving this another try,” he said, of FIFA efforts in football diplomacy which stalled since Blatter started the formal process in 2013.
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