Sheikh Salman submits candidacy papers to FIFA - report

Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:22pm EDT
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By Simon Evans

(Reuters) - The president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, has formally entered the race to become FIFA president, the Bahrain News Agency reported on Sunday.

The agency said Sheikh Salman had submitted his paperwork to FIFA headquarters on Sunday, a day ahead of the deadline for candidates to deliver the nominations from five soccer associations.

The Bahraini, who is closely allied with Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, one of the most powerful men in international sports politics and a key figure in the Olympic movement, had canvassed opinion from Asian soccer associations last week.

Sheikh Salman had initially backed Michel Platini, the UEFA president. But the Frenchman's troubles, which originated with a 2011 payment of two million Swiss francs ($2.04 million) from Blatter's FIFA for work done nine years earlier, have dramatically changed the electoral landscape.

Earlier this month, Platini was handed a 90-day provisional ban from soccer by FIFA’s Ethics Committee -- a decision which has quickly led to his support dissipating.

Platini has appealed the ban and could yet be let back into the race for the Feb. 26 vote if he is successful in overturning the judgment.

Sheikh Salman will face another member of Arab royalty in the election with Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein have already submitted his nominations.

On Saturday, South African former Apartheid-era political prisoner turned businessman Tokyo Sexwale announced he would be standing in the election after winning backing from the South African Football Association.   Continued...

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) head Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa arrives for a meeting with the FIFA task force in Doha February 24, 2015.  REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous