5 contenders for FIFA presidency

Saturday, 27 February 2016 04:06
Angela Thu
Angela Thu

Zon Staff

On Friday, FIFA will elect a new president. Five candidates are vying to be the successor to Sepp Blatter, who announced last year that he would resign amid a massive corruption scandal.

UEFA President Michel Platini, the former favorite for world soccer's top job, is also excluded from the global game for six years for receiving 2 million Swiss francs ($2 million) in 2011, authorized by Blatter. The substitute in the election is European soccer's top administrator, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino.
Here is a look at the five candidates.
The Bahraini royal, who leads the Asian Football Confederation, was quick to endorse Platini for the FIFA presidency last July and had never spoken of ambitions to run the global game.
Now he is the favorite.
Sheikh Salman entered the contest on deadline-day in October and adopted a low-key approach to canvassing, focusing on federation meetings away from the spotlight rather than parading in front of the media like Infantino.
The 50-year-old sheikh pledges to take the same approach to the FIFA presidency, shunning the limelight craved by Blatter and delegating power to specialists. There has been no formal campaign news conference, but he has given interviews.
As UEFA general secretary, the 45-year-old Infantino is the most globally recognized of the candidates due to his role presiding over draws for European competitions.
Gaining most of Europe's 53 votes was never going to be an issue. And with 500,000 euros of UEFA funding, Infantino has traveled the globe in search of endorsements. Infantino's team is counting on home support from Europe, the 10-nation South American CONMEBOL bloc and 11 backers further north in CONCACAF. He lacks public support from Asian and Africa nations.
The Jordanian federation president denied Blatter a first-round victory in last May's head-to-head election before standing aside for the incumbent. But Ali's 73 votes were mostly gathered from European federations who now back Infantino.
The 40-year-old Ali has been playing catch-up on the campaign trail, relying on regular media appearances to maintain his relevance while unable to flaunt endorsements.
Champagne spent the first decade of the century at FIFA, working as deputy secretary general and international relations director before being forced out in 2010.
Although vocal from the outside since then about the need to rebalance the power in world soccer while championing smaller and emerging federations, Champagne has still appeared to be a Blatter loyalist.
The former French diplomat failed to gain the five nominations required to stand last year, but he did meet the threshold this time. The five have never been named and he does not appear to have amassed votes through the campaign.
The 62-year-old South African had the credentials to be a powerful voice in the campaign. A former Robben Island prisoner and anti-apartheid activist, Sexwale's profile had grown leading FIFA's attempts to resolve differences between Israeli and Palestinian soccer leaders.
But his election campaign had been a complete washout. Ghana federation president Kwesi Nyantakyi derided Sexwale's pitch to CAF for focusing on his past friendship with Nelson Mandela and time on Robben Island over any plan for soccer.