Luzon: We have no favourite

By Simon Griver, May 6, 2011
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Israel FA chairman Avi Luzon has declined to throw his public support behind Fifa chief Sepp Blatter.

Seeking a fourth term as president of football's world governing body, Blatter is being challenged by president of the Asian Football Confederation Mohammed Bin Hammam of Qatar. Israel's FA is one of 208 member associations who will choose between Blatter and Bin Hammam on June 1.

Luzon said: "I met Bin Hammam for the first time at the Uefa Congress in Paris in March. We shook hands and he seemed very pleasant but it was not a meeting in the sense that I had a chance to sit down and talk to him about his vision for world soccer.

"If Bin Hammam wins there is no reason why we cannot work with him."

Luzon said that he preferred not to talk to the media about the elections. He added: "We certainly welcome Fifa's decision to hold the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar and we hope that Israel will qualify.

"Qatar is committed to allowing all member associations, including Israel, to play there."

Qatar had low level diplomatic trade relations with Israel that were broken off in 2009 following the Gaza war.

Luzon, a senior executive with Israel Discount Bank, has served as IFA chairman since 2007 and became the first Israeli to be elected to the 15-man Uefa Executive Committee in 2009.

He is considered very close to Uefa president Michel Platini, and if, as expected, the Frenchman throws his weight behind Blatter, then Luzon will follow suit.

Luzon revealed that the demolition of the Ramat Gan stadium has been put back a year so that the 40,000-seat arena will be available for the Euro Under 21 Championships Finals in Israel in 2013.

He said: "Plans for the new stadium are being prepared. Ramat Gan will be knocked down after the finals in July 2013. Hopefully we will have a new national stadium by 2017."

    Last updated: 10:00am, May 6 2011