HKFA chief still unsure on vote for top Fifa job
One-country, one-vote. That's how Timothy Fok Tsun-ting sees it as he prepares to go to Zurich to cast Hong Kong's vote at next Wednesday's election to decide who will be president of Fifa.
Fok, the president of the Hong Kong Football Association, kept his cards close to his chest and refused to disclose whether he would vote for 13-year incumbent Sepp Blatter or challenger Mohamed bin Hammam. But he was critical of the English FA's decision to abstain, and insisted it was up to the individual associations to decide and not continental bodies.
Blatter, the 75-year-old Swiss who is seeking a fourth and final term, has in recent weeks received the support of five of the six continental federations. Naturally, the odd one out is the Asian Football Confederation of which challenger Bin Hammam is the president.
'I don't think pledges from the regional confederations as to how they will vote will have any effect,' Fok said. 'It will solely be the decision of the individual member countries or territories.'
Fok, who in his capacity as president of the Hong Kong Olympic Committee was chief guest at yesterday's Hang Seng Table Tennis Academy's graduation ceremony, said: 'No, I haven't decided as yet. I will make my decision after going there [Zurich] and hear what they [Blatter and Bin Hammam] have to say.'
Fok would be expected to back a fellow Asian in the bid to become the first president from this region of the world governing body. He hinted at dissatisfaction over the Blatter rule, saying whoever the new president was, it was imperative to promote the game globally.
'Right now some countries have all the resources, while others, many in Asia, struggle to get support. Whoever is in charge, he must look at bringing up the game globally, instead of just concentrating on the few,' Fok said.
'Fifa has tremendous income. World football is an industry and it [Fifa] gets huge revenue from television. We need this money to be spread equitably. Some countries get more than others. I think we need a level playing field for all.'
Hong Kong will be one of 208 associations to decide if Blatter stays or Bin Hammam takes over. The magic number is 105 - the total votes the winning candidate needs.
One association which won't be casting its ballot will be the English FA - the oldest in the world - which has said it will abstain from voting. Fok decried the decision.
'They [the FA] should take a stand. It's a shame they have decided not to vote. One way or another, the FA must decide who is best suited to govern Fifa,' Fok said.
Bin Hammam's promise to make Fifa more transparent and almost double the number of executive committee members - from its existing 24 to 40 - giving four more seats to Europe, Asia and Africa, three more to Concacaf - the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football - and one more to South America and Oceania, might be a big lure to members.
But Fok refused to be drawn on the topic.
'I will have to decide on the day. I really don't know what to expect. In the past, this meeting has just been routine, but this time there is an election. I will go there with an open mind,' Fok insisted.
On the way, he will stop over at Wembley to watch the Uefa Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United on Saturday night.
'I have been invited,' Fok said gleefully.
Just one of the perks of holding high office in world soccer.