Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

One of These Men Will Be Handed the Opportunity to Reshape World Football

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

One of These Men Will Be Handed the Opportunity to Reshape World Football

Article excerpt

Byline: JamesOlley Chief Football Correspondent

FIFA'S presidential election is the flagship moment during a week in which the organisation attempt to cleanse themselves before the eyes of the world.

Scepticism abounds. The decision to cut the suspensions of disgraced president Sepp Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini from eight years to six years in recognition of their "services to football" leads many to wonder how committed the organisation really are to genuine change. Those inside the organisation, however, believe there is a radical reform package on the table, due to be voted on by committee members tomorrow prior to the ballot deciding who will succeed Blatter.

The central element is to replace the executive committee with an expanded FIFA council comprising 35 members. Beyond that, the next president must tackle the culture of corruption that has led to a raft of arrests and global distrust of an institution suffering a crippling identity crisis.

Standard Sport assesses the picture as FIFA attempt to identify the right man to lead them forward.

WILL THE ELECTION GO AHEAD? Prince Ali's attempts to delay the vote sufficiently for transparent voting booths to be used have fallen on deaf ears. FIFA have already decreed there will be no electronic devices in the booths and the electoral rules were drawn up and agreed some time ago. Only another dawn raid akin to the one that triggered the collapse of the old regime could trigger sufficient chaos to postpone the election now.

WHAT DO THE CANDIDATES PROMISE? There are five names in the frame but only three worth concentrating on. Tokyo Sexwale, a former political prisoner who spent time in jail with Nelson Mandela, and Jerome Champagne, a former adviser to Blatter who was sacked six years ago amid serious disagreements, are not serious contenders. Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa is the front-runner but not without his weaknesses. The Bahraini Asian Football Confederation president strongly denies claims he was part of a committee brutally supressing pro-democracy demonstrations in Bahrain four years ago. …

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