CAIRO (Reuters) - The African Football Confederation (CAF) has declined to back Liberia’s Musa Bility in his bid to stand for the FIFA presidency.
Bility addressed CAF’s executive committee in Cairo at his own request on Thursday but was told he would not get their backing although they wished him good luck, CAF said in a statement.
The decision comes with South African businessman and former political prisoner Tokyo Sexwale mulling whether to stand. A spokesman for Sexwale told Reuters on Saturday that he was considering a bid.
CAF also said it had nominated Hani Abo Rida of Egypt and Constant Omari from the Democratic Republic of Congo as its representatives on the FIFA task force which has been set up to propose reforms to soccer’s world governing body.
Both are members of the FIFA executive committee.
CAF said in a statement that Bility “had the opportunity to explain the reasons that motivated his decision to run for the FIFA presidency.”
But it added: “After a fraternal exchange, full of sincerity and cordiality, the CAF executive committee decided unanimously not to give Musa Bility the support he requested... wishing him good luck in the continuation of his mission.”
Bility needs the written endorsement of at least five soccer associations to get onto the ballot for the election to choose a replacement for outgoing president Sepp Blatter on Feb. 26. The deadline for candidates to register is Oct. 26.
Bility has had previous run-ins with CAF and its president Issa Hayatou.
In 2013, he was at the forefront of an unsuccessful bid to overturn a change to CAF election rules that ensured long-serving Hayatou won another term as CAF president.
Bility was subsequently banned by CAF for six months for using confidential documents without permission.
CAF said it would only decide which candidate it would back following a meeting in Cairo at the end of October, once all the candidates had registered.
Each of FIFA’s 209 member associations hold one vote in the presidential election, making CAF, which has 54 members, hugely influential.
UEFA president Michel Platini has emerged as the early front-runner while South Korean Chung Mong-joon and former Brazil captain Zico also intend to run.
Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term as FIFA president on May 29, but four days later he said he would lay down his mandate as soccer’s world governing body became embroiled in the worst crisis in its history.
That crisis also prompted FIFA to set up an 11-man task force to propose changes to the way in which the governing body is run.
The members will be nominated by the respective continental confederations such as CAF, although many critics say they should be chosen from outside FIFA.
Abo Rida and Omani are the first members to be officially confirmed. The task force has been given until Sept. 24 to present its proposals.
Writing by Brian Homewood in Zurich and Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ossian Shine/Amlan Chakraborty/Ken Ferris