URICH –– World soccer’s governing body FIFA, shaken by the worst corruption crisis in its history, confirmed today that seven candidates had registered as candidates for its presidency, with former Trinidad and Tobago international David Nakhid the only surprise omission.
The seven candidates were Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, Frenchmen Jerome Champagne and Michel Platini, Swiss Gianni Infantino, Liberian Musa Bility and South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale. They must now face integrity checks under FIFA’s code of ethics.
Platini, the head of European soccer’s governing body UEFA, is currently suspended for 90 days along with FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Swiss authorities are investigating the decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments to Russia and Qatar respectively and the United States Department of Justice has indicted 14 soccer officials and sports marketing executives on a series of corruption charges.
Since 2010, FIFA’s own Ethics Committee has banned more than one dozen current and former members of the executive committee, either while in office or after they had left.
FIFA said that Platini’s bid would not be processed while he is banned, but he could still stand if he wins an appeal.
As an alternative European candidate, UEFA’s general secretary Infantino announced he would stand on Monday.
Champagne is a former French diplomat who held various posts at FIFA between 1999 and 2010, but is a critic of UEFA.
Sexwale is a South African businessman and former Apartheid-era political prisoner and Bility is head of the Liberian Football Association. Prince Ali is a former FIFA executive committee member and Sheikh Salman is head of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Nakhid had announced that he would stand and on Monday took part in at the Play the Game sports conference in Denmark, along with Champagne, as a FIFA presidential candidate.
FIFA said that one of the five declarations of support for Nakhid was provided by a football association which had also declared support for another candidate.
“The electoral committee decided not to consider Mr Nakhid’s application as it did not fulfill the required five declarations of support,” said a statement.