Sports Illustrated senior soccer writer says it's time for change in FIFA.
Current FIFA president Sepp Blatter is running for his fourth term, with elections falling on June 1. Wahl has focused his campaign as a FIFA outsider, with a potential slogan of "Cure the Blatter infection." He also dismisses potential competition from Qatar's Mohamed Bin Hammam as the inclusion of yet another insider incapable of the drastic revamping the world's soccer governing body needs.
"It gets kind of old hearing the world's soccer fans complain about Blatter without anyone trying to provide an alternative," Wahl said in the article. "And make no mistake, FIFA needs to change."
Besides positioning himself as an outsider (Wahl does make sure to mention that three of FIFA's eight presidents were sports journalists), the author of "The Beckham Experiment" outlined his platform with a series of promises:
1. Video review for unclear goal-line calls.
2. No more limitations of referees per country in the World Cup, to ensure the best - not merely the most diverse - group officiates soccer's biggest stage. Furthermore, that referees must defend controversial calls to the media following games.
3. Taking off one's shirt will no longer be a yellow card offense.
4. A woman will serve as the secretary general.
5. All of FIFA's internal documents will be released to the public "WikiLeaks-style" and an external investigation will be commissioned to hound out the rampant corruption.
6. FIFA presidents, including himself, will be limited to two four-year terms.
As it stands, Wahl, at 37, has only seen two FIFA presidents in his lifetime. Incumbent Blatter is 74.
FIFA's presidency is voted on by member nations, with each country holding one vote. For Wahl to be eligible, one member nation must nominate him by April 1.
Though the April Fools' Day deadline and tongue-in-cheek tone of the video accompanying the article might suggest parody, Wahl maintains his legitimacy: "No, I'm not kidding."
Given the inherent corruption Wahl purports to take on, actual victory in the election is unlikely for the American. He'd likely content himself if any of the points in his platform are absorbed by the competing candidates and seep into the game in the near future.
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