The five FIFA presidential candidates
The five candidates for February’s FIFA presidential election after Michel Platini confirmed his withdrawal from the race on Thursday:
Gianni Infantino (SUI): The UEFA number two was previously best known to the wider public as the shaven-headed overseer of UEFA’s Champions League draw. Suddenly found himself with a golden opportunity when Platini became embroiled in a FIFA payment scandal.
Sheikh Salman (BRN): President of the powerful Asian Confederation, already a FIFA insider as vice-president. His chief obstacle are accusations he took an active role in a crackdown on a 2011 uprising in Bahrain at the time of the Arab Spring and when he was at the head of the local federation. A London-based human rights group have provided a dossier of allegations concerning the imprisonment of 150 athletes and coaches.
Tokyo Sexwale (RSA): Former anti-apartheid campaigner jailed alongside Nelson Mandela, this 62-year-old politician and millionaire businessman says he will “follow the money” to clean up the mess FIFA is in. As a complete outsider many people believe he is exactly the type of new broom which is needed. His problem lies in the difficulty in galvanising support amongst the 209 federations, given he has little experience in this field.
Prince Ali (JOR): Last May he took Sepp Blatter to the second round of the last FIFA presidential election before pulling out. The 40-year-old half-brother of Jordan’s King Abdallah was at that time, however, supported by UEFA, who are now fully behind Infantino.
Jerome Champagne (FRA): The former deputy general secretary of FIFA and former French diplomat was also a special advisor to Blatter, which may cost him dearly. The 57-year-old is running his campaign on a ticket of ‘redistribution of funds’, which may go down well in the developing world.