Musa Bility: Liberia FA boss to stand for Fifa presidency
Liberia FA chairman Musa Bility has announced plans to stand for the presidency of Fifa, saying it is Africa’s time to lead world football.
The 48-year-old is the second person to declare his candidacy after former Brazil international Zico.
“Africa is the largest voting bloc in Fifa and we must take the lead to bring football together,” said Bility.
“We all agree that football is facing a difficult moment and it is in difficult moments that great leaders emerge.”
Bility, who has led the Liberian FA since 2010, becomes only the second African to make a bid to become Fifa president.
Current Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Issa Hayatou lost to Sepp Blatter in the 2002 presidential elections.
On 2 June, 79-year-old Blatter announced he would step down as president amid allegations of corruption among Fifa officials.
Last month, US authorities indicted 14 Fifa officials and associates on bribery and racketeering charges while Swiss prosecutors are probing alleged corruption surrounding bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Bility may be little known to most outside of Africa, but the Liberian is no stranger to making bold calls.
He broke ranks with most of his African colleagues in 2011 by declaring he would vote against Blatter, who had been instrumental in bringing the previous year’s World Cup to the continent for the first time, in that year’s Fifa elections.
Bility said Blatter’s then challenger, Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam, offered a “better platform” for football development in Liberia.
A year later, the Liberian businessman stood alone when contesting controversial rule changes within Caf that ultimately allowed president Hayatou to be re-elected unopposed.
In 2013, Caf handed Bility a six-month ban for violating statutes relating to the use of confidential documents – a punishment the Liberian claimed came as a result of his attempt to tackle African football’s ruling body.
Nonetheless, he thinks his outspoken past will help him in his surprise bid.
“People know me to be bold, upright, outspoken and highly opinionated,” he told BBC Sport. “I say it like it is. When it’s not right, I don’t back down and I think that has gained me some respect.”
Bility has yet to receive the backing of the five football associations needed to put him in the race but is confident he will secure them.
“I have spoken to about half a dozen of the presidents of African football and I have their support – you can see the excitement,” he said.
“If I have one reason to believe that Africa is not going to stand by me, I am not going to put up my candidacy.”
Fifa has called an extraordinary meeting of its Executive Committee for July, when the date for the presidential elections will be decided – they are expected between December 2015 and March 2016.
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