LONDON (Reuters) – The Bahraini sheikh bidding to become FIFA president next month says he would like Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League, to be his secretary general if he wins the election.
Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and a front-runner in the FIFA election, also said he wants former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson to join a board of advisers that he would set up.
The election to choose a new head of FIFA was called after the organisation was plunged into the worst crisis in its 111-year history last May with the arrest of officials by American and Swiss authorities probing corruption allegations.
Scudamore, who would be offered the role of running FIFA’s day-to-day business under Sheikh Salman’s proposal, has overseen the development of the Premier League into the world’s richest and most popular domestic soccer competition.
Ferguson was responsible for United’s dominance of that League, with 13 titles in two decades.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Sheikh Salman said: “Richard … is still doing a great job at the Premier League, and at the end of the day we have to choose (someone) who is ready to come in and take up this responsibility.
Sheikh Salman told Reuters in a recent interview that he would split FIFA into separate ‘business’ and ‘football’ entities if he wins next month’s election in Zurich, and saw the presidential role as a non-executive one involving delegating rather than micro-managing the organisation.
Asked if Ferguson and Scudamore could be on his proposed advisory board, he replied: “Absolutely, they have the experience and the personality, everybody respects them and the work they have done.
“There are other people around the globe who I am sure could make a similar contribution,” he added.
Salman, who has widespread support in Asia and probable support from Africa after the two confederations signed a Memorandum of Understanding, is one of five men bidding to replace the banned Sepp Blatter as president when the election takes place on Feb.26.
The other candidates are former FIFA executive committee member Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan, former FIFA deputy secretary general Jerome Champagne of France; Gianni Infantino, who is Swiss and the current general secretary of the European soccer body UEFA; and South African businessman and politician Tokyo Sexwale.
The corruption allegations against FIFA have led to 41 people and entities being charged in the United States and have rocked soccer worldwide. Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini were banned for eight years last month.
(Reporting by Mike Collett; Editing by Dominic Evans)