7 names chasing FIFA’s hottest seat

By Aiyeku Timothy October 31, 2015 12:53

7 names chasing FIFA’s hottest seat

FIFA has gone through quite the transformation in the past few months. Convictions, accusations, counter-accusations and a lot of lobbying have occurred since the United States Department of Justice opened up Pandora’s Box on Sepp Blatter and his “friends.”

Blatter and other top officials were caught and arrested for alleged bribery in Zurich, with Secretary-General Jerome Valcke implicated in a $10 million payment to former FIFA Vice-President Jack Warner.

See: Corruption at its peak: Will the real FIFA please stand up?

February 26, 2016 has been slated for the Presidential election with Issa Hayatou babysitting the position till then.

See: First In History! Issa Hayatou is FIFA President

All seven who have thrown hats in the ring must have been nominated by at least five national federation and must have been actively involved in football for 2 of the past 5 years. They will also be subjected to ethics checks. Yeeesh!

1. Michel Platini

Michel Platini

Platini is now a controversial candidate especially with his 90 day posing a major threat to his ambition. The 60 years old is currently the European Confederation UEFA President and has been a long time admirer of Blatter’s position.

Being one of the greatest footballers of all time, his contribution to football as a player and an administrator would only give more credit to him but his scandalous payment scandal remains a huge cloud over him.

The French legend made his name as a sports administrator by pressing for football’s riches and decision-making to be spread much more equally between members.

2. Gianni Infantino

Gianni Infantino

A last minute candidate who emerged after his boss, Platini got embroiled in the FIFA scandal, Infantino, a 45-year-old Swiss national, now has UEFA’s backing.

The UEFA Secretary-General may struggle to win the same degree of support as Platini but could take advantage of the situation after the governing body’s executive committee held a meeting to support the Swissman’s candidature.

“We believe that Gianni Infantino has all of the qualities required‎ to tackle the major challenges ahead and to lead the organisation on a path of reform to restore FIFA’s integrity and credibility,” a UEFA statement read.

3. Musa Bility

Musa-Bility

A major African candidate, Bility is the President of the Liberian Football Association. He failed to secure backing from African football bosses when he tried to stand for the last election, and the African Football Confederation is yet to endorse him this time.

His popularity and chances appear slim. He is however known as a straight talker and has been howling for Blatter’s blood since the early days of the current controversy.

He was once suspended for several months in 2013 for a controversial statement “violating statutes relating to the use of confidential documents.”

“If we are to change football, then we have to make sure that those who have been running FIFA for the last 20-25 years have nothing to do with it,” Bility said after announcing his candidacy.

4. Tokyo Sexwale

Tokyo Sexwale

The South African businessman will also test his chances as Africa’s other contender. His intention to run was made public after the South African Football Association’s National Executive Committee unanimously endorsed his candidacy last week.

His association with Blatter will likely turn the Europeans and some other federations against him and it’s not clear that he is the top choice even in the African confederation.

Sexwale has been part of FIFA’s anti-discrimination taskforce and has worked on helping foster a relationship between the football associations of Israel and Palestine, while he also served on the organizing committee for South Africa’s 2010 World Cup.

Away from football, Sexwale has been Presenter on the South African version of the hit TV show “The Apprentice.”

5. Shaikh Salman bin Brahim al Khalifa

Shaikh Salman bin Brahim al Khalifa

Shaikh Salman bin Brahim al Khalifa

The Asian Football Confederation President launched his bid 24 hours before the deadline.

A member of the Bahraini Royal Family, Salman has been criticized by human rights organizations for complicity in crimes against humanity but has come out to say “Recent allegations are entirely false.”

His chance of winning the FIFA presidency will so much depend on how seriously these allegations against him are taken.

6. Prince Ali bin Al Hussein

Prince Ali bin Al Hussein

Another strong contender, he lost to Blatter in May, and would be delighted to get another shot at the seat. His campaign has been based on a new FIFA and restoring the governing body’s image “This time of crisis at FIFA is an opportunity for positive change.”

His ambition will no doubt be taken seriously by Qatar, following his major role in bringing the 2022 World Cup bid to the Middle-east.

He has been the President of the Jordan FA since 1999, Vice-President of FIFA since 2011 and founded the West Asian Football Federation in 2001.

7. Jerome Champagne

Jerome Champagne

Champagne withdrew his candidacy in the last election for failing to secure the minimum five nominations required. It now seems the 57-year-old is more optimistic than before of his chances.

No doubt, the recent controversies involving Blatter and Platini may serve as a boost to his ambition. But beyond Europe he remains much of an unknown quantity.

During the eleven years spent in FIFA, the Frenchman followed sport-political issues, and is famous for pushing for trimming the World Cup places for Europeans teams.