If FIFA boss Sepp Blatter has his way, the next man in charge of world football could be from the Caribbean.
The FIFA president has indicated he could be replaced “in the near future” as the head of football’s world governing body by Jeffrey Webb.
Webb, a Fifa vice-president, is leader of the confederation for North, Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF).
This week’s comments to a football conference in the Caribbean are another hint that Blatter does not want UEFA president Michel Platini to succeed him.
Blatter, 77, has led the Zurich-based governing body since 1998.
Speaking off-the-cuff before a speech to mark the opening of a CONCACAF sport summit, the FIFA boss was introduced incorrectly to an audience of regional political leaders and confederation delegates as “FIFA’s vice-president” by a local media officer.
Blatter stepped up to the lectern and replied to the mistake by telling the media officer and assembled guests: “I think you’re a prophet.”
“[There may be] a new FIFA president in the near future and this president could be Jeffrey Webb.”
After receiving applause, he added: “This would not mean I would be vice-president. Once you have been a horse you don’t go back to the stable.”
Sources close to FIFA have said that the comments should not be taken as a decision by Blatter that he will not stand as a candidate in the next election, scheduled for May 2015, and that all options are still open to him.
Blatter told UEFA delegates in 2011 that this would be his final term of office but has this year given strong indications that he may seek a fresh mandate.
The comments are the clearest indication so far that Platini – considered by many observers to be his most likely successor – is not the man Blatter wishes to see in power after he has left the role.
Platini has yet to decide if he will stand in the 2015 election saying recently that he wanted more time to consider the matter.
That leaves Jeffrey Webb – who is also yet to indicate any intention to stand in the ballot – as Blatter’s anointed executive, having already been appointed by him earlier this year to lead FIFA’s anti-discrimination and racism taskforce.
Webb, 49, is from the Cayman Islands and was elected president of CONCACAF in May 2012 following the acrimonious departures of former president Jack Warner and general secretary Chuck Blazer.
Now one of seven FIFA vice-presidents, Webb started his time in football governance as president of the Cayman Islands Football Association in 1991. (BBC)