ABUJA (Reuters) - Former Nigerian soccer star Segun Odegbami has announced his bid to run for president of the sport’s international governing body FIFA, his campaign chief said on Wednesday.
The election of a new FIFA head is due to take place on Feb. 26 next year in Zurich, Switzerland. FIFA has never had an African president.
World soccer was thrown into turmoil this year after 14 sports marketing executives and soccer officials, including from Zurich-based FIFA, were indicted by the United States in late May on bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges.
Longtime FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced his resignation in June in response to the scandal.
“The current scandal at FIFA is the organization’s worst crisis in its 111 years of existence. Moving forward, FIFA thus require a new era of leadership...I see myself fitting into this role,” Odegbami said in an emailed statement provided to reporters by campaign chief Ade Adeagbo.
Michel Platini, the French head of Europe’s soccer body UEFA, is seen as the front-runner in the race to replace Blatter, who will relinquish his mandate at the helm of world soccer’s governing body in the February vote.
Nicknamed “Mathematical” for his speed and technical control of the ball, Odegbami was the top scorer when Nigeria’s Green Eagles won the African Cup of Nations for the first time in 1980. He also served as captain of the team in 1980-81.
Odegbami has previously tried to enter sports politics, having unsuccessfully run four times for head of the Nigerian Football Federation. He now runs a sports academy in Ogun state.
Reporting by Mike Edebor and Julia Payne; Editing by Mark Heinrich