Tuesday 20 February 2018

FIFA to elect Sepp Blatter's replacement next February

Sepp Blatter
Sepp Blatter

The end of Sepp Blatter’s 17 years as president of FIFA has officially been set by the organisation’s executive committee today: it will be 26 February.

The original plan had been to hold the extraordinary congress to replace the 79-year-old in mid-December but the date would clash with the FIFA Club World Cup finals.

Having discussed with the Fifa executive committee today – the first meeting since Blatter’s announcement in June that he would stand aside – the decision was announced in Zurich. Blatter will speak at 2pm UK time today at FIFA House.

The favourite to succeed him is Uefa president Michel Platini, who has garnered support from the federations especially Asia where the Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah is regarded as a key figure in delivering the votes. Platini would need to win a majority, at least 105 of the 209 member nations who will vote for the new FIFA president.

Whether the 60-year-old wants to take on such a palsied organisation at a critical juncture in its history is another matter. He is compromised by his backing of the Qatar 2022 World Cup finals bid which is at the root of the two investigations by Swiss and US authorities that were behind Blatter’s decision to quit.

The former Manchester United chief executive David Gill was at FIFA House in Zurich today, having reversed his decision not to take up his place on the Fifa ExCo following Blatter’s pledge to resign. This was Gill’s first ExCo meeting. The members were briefed by FIFA lawyers on the progress of the two investigations, by Swiss authorities and the FBI.

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