Africa, the FIFA Presidency and the Governance of World Football, 1974, 1998 and 2002

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Since the independence movements of the late 1950s and 1960s the vast majority of African nations have remained firmly rooted at the base of the world economic and political order. However, in the global sports arena Africa has made its presence felt and it is in international football that the continent’s sports stars have perhaps made their biggest impact. The World Cup, the Olympic football tournament and FIFA’s under-age competitions have all been enriched by the presence of African nations. Indeed, African performances at these competitions illustrates that the continent’s most vibrant football nations have emerged as credible challengers to the traditional pre-eminence of South America and Europe. These performances on the field of play have been matched by the advance and improving profile of Africa within the governance of the world game. Nowhere has this profile been more manifest than in the central role that Africa has played in determining who holds the most powerful position in world football, the FIFA Presidency. This article adopts a qualitative methodology involving a number of in-depth interviews, the use of primary archival material and analyses of secondary sources in order to assess Africa’s status as the key electoral constituency in the struggles for the FIFA Presidency in 1974, 1998 and 2002. The analyses here examine the ways in which those seeking the FIFA presidency have sought to present themselves as advocates of African football and explores the implications that this has had for the development of the game in Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-24
JournalAfrica Today
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2003


  • African football
  • FIFA
  • FIFA Presidency
  • Confederation of African football


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