26 Oct 2015

AFC boss runs for top FIFA job

3:06 pm on 26 October 2015

The president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, has formally entered the race to become FIFA president.

The Bahrain News Agency reported that Sheikh Salman had submitted his paperwork to FIFA headquarters a day ahead of the deadline for candidates to deliver the nominations from five football associations.

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) chief Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa in Melbourne before the start of the AFC Asian Cup on January 9, 2015. AFP PHOTO / William WEST

Asian Football Confederation chief Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa Photo: AFP

The Bahraini, who is closely allied with Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, one of the most powerful men in international sports politics and a key figure in the Olympic movement, had canvassed opinion from Asian football associations last week.

Sheikh Salman had initially backed Michel Platini, the UEFA president. But the Frenchman's troubles, which originated with a 2011 payment of more than $2 million from Blatter's FIFA for work done nine years earlier, have dramatically changed the electoral landscape.

Earlier this month, Platini was handed a 90-day provisional ban from football by FIFA's ethics committee - a decision which has quickly led to his support dissipating.

Platini has appealed the ban and could yet be let back into the race for the February 26 vote if he is successful in overturning the judgement.

Sheikh Salman will face another member of Arab royalty in the election with Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein having already submitted his nominations.

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

Sepp Blatter (right) with Prince Ali bin al-Hussein at a 2011 FIFA Congress. Photo: Photosport

South African former Apartheid-era political prisoner turned businessman Tokyo Sexwale also announced he would be standing in the election after winning backing from the South African Football Association.

Former Trinidad and Tobago midfielder David Nakhid says he has submitted his papers to FIFA along with former FIFA deputy general secretary Jerome Champagne and Platini.

Zico, the former Brazilian World Cup player, has said he wants to stand but it is not known if he has been able to receive the necessary support.

FIFA has been rocked by the US Department of Justice's decision on May 27 to indict 14 officials and sports marketing executives in a corruption investigation.

Swiss authorities are also investigating FIFA while FIFA's ethics committee has handed out several bans.

- Reuters

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