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FIFA on Tuesday unveiled the five candidates who will vie for the role of president of the soccer world governing body in a vote set for Feb. 26.
FIFA’s electoral committee said Prince Ali bin al Hussein, a former FIFA vice president from Jordan who lost a May election, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa from Bahrain, Gianni Infantino of Switzerland, South African Tokyo Sexwale and French candidate Jerome Champagne will all be eligible for final campaigning to take over. The election became necessary after the resignation of Sepp Blatter who was then banned from the sport amid a growing corruption scandal.
Salman, head of the Asian soccer confederation, and Infantino, the general secretary of European soccer association UEFA, are seen as the frontrunners. But no candidate is expected to win the necessary two-thirds majority in the first round of voting. In subsequent votes, a simple majority is sufficient.
The new president will be watched closely in terms of his success in bringing order to FIFA and addressing concerns about unethical behavior. Big sponsors, such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, have urged FIFA to embrace change, with the former calling for “a credible and sustainable reform process.”
FIFA’s ethics committee in late December banned longtime FIFA president Blatter and vice president Michel Platini for eight years from all soccer-related activities.
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