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Wednesday 24 January 2018

Fifa presidential election planned for February

British comedian Lee Nelson (out of picture) throws cash at Sepp Blatter during an Executive Committee Meeting at Fifa headquarters, Zurich. (PA)
British comedian Lee Nelson (out of picture) throws cash at Sepp Blatter during an Executive Committee Meeting at Fifa headquarters, Zurich. (PA)
Sepp Blatter quit as Fifa president just after being re-elected in May

The Fifa presidential election to choose Sepp Blatter's successor will be held on February 26 next year.

The decision was taken by Fifa's executive committee today.

It follows Mr Blatter's decision to resign four days after being re-elected in May.

The decision gives Mr Blatter seven more months in power before leaving the scandal-tainted governing body.

Fifa is reeling under the weight of American and Swiss criminal investigations into corruption, which led to 14 officials being indicted in May when Mr Blatter won a fifth term.

Fifa's 209 members will return to Zurich next year to select a new president almost than nine months after Mr Blatter's resignation statement.

Potential contenders include Uefa president Michel Platini and Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, who lost to Mr Blatter in May.

Former Brazil great Zico and Liberia football federation president Musa Bility have said they will seek the five nominations required.

Prince Ali joined World Cup sponsor Coca-Cola and former Fifa advisers Transparency International in calling for Mr Blatter to be excluded from the process of shaping the organisation's future after a litany of scandals on his watch.

Prince Ali said Mr Blatter "cannot be permitted to plan his succession and manage this election process".

He added: "President Blatter's resignation cannot be dragged out any longer. He must leave now.

"An interim independent leadership must be appointed to administer the process of the elections, in addition to the reforms that are being discussed prior to the elections."

Reformers want Fifa to appoint a respected figure from outside the sport to oversee the next election and reforms.

Mr Bility said he was "very disappointed" with the February 26 election date.

"It does not reflect the urgency of the situation," he said. "The anxiety, the wait cannot help knowing that we expect to have a new leadership."

Mr Bility said he is sure he will secure the nominations required to make the ballot.

"I am very encouraged," he said. "You know I am keen viewing those rumours of those who are running. I don't see any new faces. They are all names who have been around for all these years."

Speaking at a news conference today, Mr Blatter said he will "not be a candidate" in the election.

Asked to dispel any doubt that he would go back on his promise to leave, Mr Blatter folded his arms and chuckled.

He said: "On the 26th of February Fifa will have a new president. I cannot be the new president because I am the old president."

Fifa said would-be candidates can declare their interest immediately and apply until October 26.

Mr Blatter added: "I wish all the candidates best success and also to Michel Platini."

Press Association

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