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Blatter-bin Hammam battle opens in Paris

  • AP, Monday, March 21, 2011 11:45 AM

FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Qatari Mohamed bin Hammam are in Paris to seek support from UEFA's 53 members assembled for the UEFA Congress, the first major soccer event since bin Hammam, president of the Asian Football Confederation, announced his bid to end Blatter's 13-year hold on the FIFA presidency.

Blatter and bin Hammam will be guests Monday of UEFA President Michel Platini at the organization's dinner, which will be held on a boat on the Seine. UEFA's members represent more than one-quarter of FIFA's electorate. Blatter has had his share of run-ins with European members, but bin Hammam's candidacy is also seen as an obstacle to Platini's own presidential ambitions -- in 2015.

Platini is a former Blatter aide and viewed as a possible candidate to replace the Swiss leader, who is seeking his fourth four-year term in 2011 but is not expected to seek reelection in 2015 when he will be 79.

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