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2016 Fifa elections: Meet the five men fighting to be president

On 9 November 2015, Fifa’s Ad-hoc Electoral Committee admitted and declared five candidates eligible to stand for election to the office of FIFA President. The election will take place at an ‘Extraordinary FIFA Congress’ in Zurich on February 26.

football Updated: Feb 26, 2016 16:37 IST
Sumil Sudhakaran
Sumil Sudhakaran
Hindustan Times
2016 FIFA elections,FIFA corruption,Sepp Blatter corruption
Sepp Blatter’s tenure as president was tainted with allegations of corruption, bribery and favouritism. (AFP Photo)

On 9 November 2015, Fifa’s Ad-hoc Electoral Committee admitted and declared five candidates eligible to stand for election to the office of Fifa President. The election will take place at an ‘Extraordinary Fifa Congress’ in Zurich on February 26.

The electoral body is composed of 209 federation members.

A candidate must secure at least two-thirds of the votes of eligible voting members present to win in the first round.

If not, a simple majority of valid votes will decide the winner in the second round.

The contenders

Giani Infantino

The Swiss Uefa general secretary has promised to increase the number of teams in the World Cup to 40, ensuring greater global representation, as well as a commitment to grassroots level football.

UEFA General Secretary and Fifa presidential candidate Gianni Infantino. (REUTERS)

The 45-year-old also promises to create a new Fifa Council to replace the scandal-tainted Executive Committee as a supervisory body, with a clear separation between Council members and day-to-day administrators.

Infantino has also stressed the need for stricter controls over money flows to the federation, including public disclosures of payments made to elected Fifa members and management, as well as a completely transparent bidding procedure for the World Cup.

Tokyo Sexwale

The South African has a history of fighting to end discrimination, and not just in sport bodies. The veteran anti-apartheid campaigner, who was jailed for 13 years on the infamous Robben Island, has promised to support the Fifa Reform committee, as well as ensuring a fairer distribution of both funds and executive positions to all of the Confederations.

Tokyo Sexwale, chairman of the FIFA monitoring committee Israel and Palestine, gestures as he speaks during a news conference. (REUTERS)

Sexwale has also promised to focus on untapped football markets, such as China and India, as well as increasing support for fledgling organisations such as Oceania and the CAF.

Prince Ali bin al-Hussein

The current president of Jordan’s Football Associations, Ali was one of Sepp Blatter’s most trenchant critics. The prince has promised to grant a minimum financial assistance grant of $1 million to each member association if elected; four times the current basic grant.

Vice president of Fifa for Asia, Jordan's Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein. (AP Photo)

He has also promised increased investment in grassroots-level football, as well as focus on building up the girls’ and womens’ game.

Most importantly, he has promised that human rights requirements will be included in selecting future World Cup hosts - though the former Fifa vice-president supports Russia and Qatar.

He has also promised to institute maximum limits of two four-year terms for both the president and members of the Executive Committee.

Jerome Champagne

The Frenchman has worked for Fifa for 11 years both as an executive and as an advisor to Sepp Blatter before leaving in 2010.

He has also promised to develop China, India and Indonesia as footballing nations, and has stressed the need to expand Fifa’s membership to include more Oceania states and Kosovo.

Former FIFA deputy general secretary Jerome Champagne. (AFP Photo)

The former diplomat has also said that their would be an open discussion on the allocation of 32 spots for the World Cup, as well as establishing a ‘High World Council for the development of football’ to look at a fairer distribution of resources among Fifa’s membership.

He has also said that he would publically declare the president’s salary.

Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa

The current Fifa vice-president has promised to secure the organisations’ finances by looking at new revenue streams, and a separation of the commercial and business concerns of the body from its football development activities.

The head of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and FIFA presidential candidate, Bahraini Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa. (AFP Photo)

The Sheikh has importantly proposed a non-executive president as part of his plans to depoliticise Fifa.

He also wants to increase the number of women on the Executive, and has proposed seeking advice from other bodies on how to tackle corrupt practices.

First Published: Feb 26, 2016 14:58 IST