Today is the day . . . deadline day by which contenders for the presidency of world football federation FIFA must submit their nomination papers.
The ‘qualification’ demands include a minimum of five written endorsements from national football federations plus a declaration of a role in the game in two of the past five years.
All contenders will have their submissions put through an integrity check by the ethics committee before being confirmed, formally, as candidates to stand to succeed Sepp Blatter at the extraordinary congress next February 26.
After two more contenders declared themselves over the weekend the ‘live’ field has six candidates.
These are :
Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan (former FIFA vice-president), ex-FIFA official Jerome Champagne, David Nakhid (one time Trinidad international), Michel Platini (suspended president of European federation UEFA), Asian confederation leader Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa (Bahrain) and South African businessman Tokyo Sexwale.
The most controversial applicant is Sheikh Salman who confirmed his intention after flying to Cairo for discussions with Issa Hayatou, the Cameroonian president of the African confederation who took over as interim leader of FIFA earlier this month after Blatter’s suspension over allegations of financial misconduct.
A shadow hanging over Sheikh Salman’s prospective power bid concerns allegations by human rights activitists of complicity in the detention and torture of footballers and other athletes in a Bahrain crackdown in 2011. Sheikh Salman has always denied the claims.
Platini submitted his paperwork before being suspended by the FIFA ethics committee pending an investigation into his receipt in 2011 of a ‘disloyal payment’ from FIFA authorised by Blatter.
UEFA has yet to decide whether to ‘run’ another candidate in case Platini is not cleared by the ethics committee in time for the election congress.
Sources close to the process have suggested that general secretary Gianni Infantino could be that ‘stalking horse’. His involvement would raise other issues since, whoever takes over from Blatter, might well consider Infantino a serious candidate for the role of secretary-general.
Current secretary-general Jerome Valcke is under suspension over misconduct allegations of his own and, in any case, had indicated that he expected to be leaving FIFA after the election.
Chung Mong-joon, the South Korean billionaire, has been effectively knocked out of the race after being banned from the game for six years over allegations connected to an investigation into the 2018-2022 World Cup bid process.
Interest in standing has also been expressed by former players Zico (Brazil), Ramon Vega (Switzerland) and David Ginola (France) but all appear to have failed to come up with the essential nominations.
Zico, on seeking the support of his own Brazilian confederation, was told it would back him only if he could first find four other countries willing to nominate him.