Seven ready to run for head of FIFA; Nakhid disqualified

Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:31am EDT
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By Joshua Franklin

ZURICH (Reuters) - Seven candidates are now lined up to take over at FIFA from Sepp Blatter, whose 18 years as president are ending with world soccer's governing body entangled in a scandal over pervasive corruption.

FIFA confirmed seven candidates had registered by Monday's deadline, with candidates from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

One potential candidate, David Nakhid, was forced out on Wednesday when his registration was ruled invalid. Another, South Korean Chung Mong-Joon, pulled out on Monday because he had been banned from soccer for six years.

Among the seven registered candidates, Michel Platini's is in doubt. The head of European soccer's governing body, UEFA, he is also currently suspended for 90 days, along with Blatter.

Those remaining are: Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan and Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrein; Frenchmen Platini and Jerome Champagne; and the Swiss Gianni Infantino, Liberian Musa Bility and South Africa's Tokyo Sexwale.

One of them will become the head of an organization facing its worst scandal ever. The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted 14 soccer officials and sports marketing executives on a series of corruption charges, and Swiss authorities are investigating the decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments to Russia and Qatar respectively.

Since 2010, FIFA's own Ethics Committee has banned more than a dozen current and former members of the executive committee, either while in office or after they had left.

The exclusion of Nakhid was a surprise, though. A former Trinidad and Tobago international player, he took part on Monday in a sports conference in Denmark, along with Champagne, as a candidate. He spent Tuesday afternoon giving interviews and laying out his plans.   Continued...

Journalists are reflected in FIFA's logo as they wait during an extraordinary meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee in front of FIFA's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland October 20, 2015.    REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann