Tokyo Sexwale believes the time has come for FIFA to be represented by an African president.
The South African, a former political prisoner, will be standing to replace the outgoing Sepp Blatter in next February’s elections.
Sexwale has highlighted the fact FIFA has never had an African figurehead since its inception and believes he is the answer to the need for diversity within football’s world governing body.
“I’m not saying it is a colour thing, it’s far from that,” he said when addressing the general meeting of the Council of Southern African Football Association.
“All I am saying is that the time for diversity has arrived. I’m not here to keep quiet and pretend things are not happening because they are.
“All of us are concerned about the state of, not football, but the state of FIFA. In my opinion football is not broken at all, it is heartbroken, and there’s a failure of leadership.
“We are bleeding at FIFA because most of the people we know that have been running this organisation are on the run, they’re arrested or suspended.”
Jerome Champagne, another candidate to replace Blatter next year, countered Sexwale’s comments by insisting that experience, not nationality, was often the key attribute for a president.
“It’s not a matter of origin, it’s a matter of experience. It’s a matter of knowing how exactly how to manage a structure,” he said.
“Because I was pushed out of FIFA by a coalition of people who are all suspended today, I know exactly what needs to be changed, and that is experience, which I will provide.”