23 Feb 2016

Sport: Oceania countries still to decide on next FIFA President

12:28 pm on 23 February 2016

Oceania countries are yet to decide who they will back for FIFA President at this week's Extraordinary Congress in Zurich.

FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland 2011. FIFA President Sepp Blatter with Prince Ali bin al-Hussein - FIFA vice-president of Jordan.

Suspended FIFA President Sepp Blatter (right) with one of five men vying to replace him, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein. Photo: Photosport

Five candidates are running to replace the suspended Sepp Blatter: the president of the Asian Football Confederation, Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa of Bahrain; FIFA Vice-President, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan; former FIFA executive, Jérôme Champagne of France; Tokyo Sexwale, of South Africa; and UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino of Switzerland.

Solomon Islands Football Federation President William Lai.

Solomon Islands Football Federation President William Lai. Photo: Solomon Islands Football

Last year, all 11 Oceania nations pledged their support for Blatter before New Zealand broke ranks and voted for Prince Ali.

The president of the Solomon Islands Football Federation William Lai said Oceania members will meet on Thursday in Switzerland ahead of the vote a day later.

He said each country was free to vote as they wished but he hoped the would be on the same page.

"I think we have an executive meeting before the five candidates will present to us. Whether we vote for as a confederation together or we're going to split I don't know but it's a democracy so any country can lend their support to what they believe in, in a new FIFA President."

Mr Lai hoped whichever way Oceania voted they back the winning candidate, although he said whoever gets in wants to do the best for the global game.

"In 1998 in fact we didn't vote for Mr Blatter so in a way somehow, whatever happens, Mr Blatter came to love Oceania. Whoever comes in, even if we didn't vote for him, FIFA is about policy, about developing the game in the world stage. I think sometimes in politics if we stick together maybe we get more - it all depends."