By Neeraj Gangal
Qatari FIFA board member withdraws from presidential contest amid accusations of bribery
I made the decision to run for the FIFA presidency because I was and remain committed to change within FIFA.
I set out my goals and ambitions clearly - to further the cause of democracy within FIFA - through a commitment to transparency and accountability; through a commitment to expand the number of officials and nations involved in decision-making processes.
In addition to this, I wanted to spark a debate about change in FIFA. For the good of football, I wanted the future to be bright for our world’s governing body and for it to adapt to the ever-changing world we live in today.
However, recent events have left me hurt and disappointed - on a professional and personal level.
It saddens me that standing up for the causes that I believed in has come at a great price – the degradation of FIFA’s reputation. This is not what I had in mind for FIFA and this is unacceptable.
I cannot allow the name that I loved to be dragged more and more in the mud because of competition between two individuals.
The game itself and the people who love it around the world must come first.
It is for this reason that I announce my withdrawal from the presidential election.
I will not put my personal ambition ahead of FIFA’s dignity and integrity.
Besides, I believe my candidacy has been a catalyst for debate within FIFA and has brought change to the top of the agenda.
I pray that my withdrawal will not be tied to the investigation held by the FIFA Ethics Committee as I will appear before the Ethics Committee to clear my name from the baseless allegations that have been made against me.
I promise those who stood by me that I will walk with my head held high and will continue to fight for the good of the game.
I would like to offer my thanks and appreciation to all Member Associations and individuals who supported me. I hope that they will not receive my decision with disappointment and frustration.
I have a special thank you to my friend and colleague Jack Warner for his unlimited support. I am sorry to see that he has to suffer because of me, but I am promising him that I will be with him all the way through thick and thin.
I look forward to working closely with my colleagues to restore FIFA’s reputation to what it should be - a protector of the game that has credibility through honesty, transparency and accountability.
Sunday 29 May 2011 8:10