SEXWALESouth African business tycoon and FIFA presidential candidate, Tokyo Sexwale has pledged to allow national teams to wear sponsors’ names on their shirts at an expanded World Cup tournament if elected President of the world’s football governing body next February.

Sexwale, made the disclosure while unveiling his election manifesto on Wednesday.

If elected FIFA President, Sexwale said he would “seriously explore the possibility of the national jersey, as happens in other sporting codes, bearing the logo of the main sponsor – not only the jersey-maker as is currently the case.

“There is space there for much value worth millions of dollars which will be destined directly into FAs’ (national football associations’) coffers,” he said.

Shirt sponsorship became widespread in the club game in the 1980s but FIFA have not allowed deals for national team jerseys, with FAs limited to sponsorship on training tops and off-the-field equipment.

According to Sexwale, the current crisis at FIFA, which faces investigations from the U.S. Department of Justice and Swiss authorities and was hit by the indictment of 14 football officials and sports marketing executives in May, can be “utilised to turn things around and renew FIFA”.

The South African who is only the candidate from the continent also said FIFA needed to “take a hard look, with sensitivity” at the imbalances in representation at World Cups among regional confederations. Europe, which has 53 FAs, has 13 World Cup slots while Africa, with 54 members, has just five.

He promised to operate an “open door policy” to national associations and to “allow stakeholders easier access” to the FIFA president.

The South African also proposed to carry out expansion of FIFA’s biggest tournament-the World Cup.

“Concerning the number of national teams in the World Cup, it is proposed this be above the current 32 teams, subject to an inclusive discussion by the FIFA executive committee,” he said.

Sexwale called for the creation of an ‘international advisory board’ made up of 11 “internationally respected eminent persons from various walks of life, including football”.

He said this body, which would meet annually “to share its critical views with an about FIFA” would be “part of the effort to win back the trust and confidence of various stakeholders following the disruptive corruption allegations which have damaged the FIFA brand”.

By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)

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