ESPN in TV debate invite to FIFA election five

Tue Dec 29, 2015 7:17pm EST
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By Simon Evans

MIAMI Dec 29 (Reuters) - U.S. sports television network ESPN has invited the five candidates in FIFA's presidential election to participate in a debate on the future of the crisis-hit governing body for world soccer.

"ESPN has invited all five candidates vying for the FIFA presidency to participate in a debate," a network spokesman told Reuters via email on Tuesday.

"Our goal is to provide a forum for an open, transparent discussion about the future governance of the sport in advance of the election that will determine who occupies the most powerful position in global soccer."

The candidates are Frenchman Jerome Champagne, Jordanian Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, Swiss Gianni Infantino, Tokyo Sexwale of South Africa and Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa of Bahrain.

The vote for the next president is due to take place on Feb. 26 at a special congress in Zurich.

Sepp Blatter, president since 1998, has been banned from soccer for eight years by FIFA's Ethics Committee and the organization is currently being led by acting chief Issa Hayatou of Cameroon.

Champagne told the website 'Sporting Intelligence' the ESPN debate would be held in London on Jan. 29.

Former FIFA deputy general secretary Champagne also told Reuters he had agreed to participate and had long been in favor of such a discussion.   Continued...

FIFA's logo is seen in front of its headquarters during a meeting of the FIFA executive committee in Zurich, Switzerland September 25, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann