And Then There Were Seven. FIFA Announces Names Of Men Who Would Be King

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Seven rather than eight contenders are in the running to succeed Sepp Blatter as Fifa president, football’s world governing body officially announced today, the omission being former Trinidad and Tobago international David Nakhid who confirmed his intention to stand on Monday but appears to have failed to receive the required endorsement from five member associations.

Fifa said the proposed candidates for the February 26 election were, as expected, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, Musa Bility, Jérôme Champagne, Gianni Infantino, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Tokyo Sexwale and , of course, suspended Uefa president Michel Platini whose candidacy will only be processed if he clears his name in time.

The Fifa statement read: “FIFA’s member associations have proposed, in due time and form, seven candidates for the presidential election to take place at the Extraordinary FIFA Congress in Zurich on February 26, 2016. “Given that Michel Platini is currently provisionally banned from taking part in any football-related activity, his candidature will not be processed by the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee as long as such ban is valid and in force. “Should such a ban be lifted or expire before the FIFA presidential election, the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee would decide, depending on the respective exact point in time, on how to proceed with the candidature concerned.”

The next stage in the proceedings is the all-important integrity check with the seven dossiers passed to Fifa’s ethics committee which will then “deliver comprehensive documentation on each candidate”.

After that it will be up to the electoral committee, headed by Domenico Scala, to decide who can and can’t proceed.

“Upon receipt of the results of the integrity checks,” said Fifa, “the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee will reconvene in order to review the submissions and validate their compliance with the applicable FIFA regulatory provisions. Following this process, the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee will formally admit and declare the candidates who are eligible to stand for the office of FIFA President.”

It is understood the integrity checks could take up to 10 days before the contenders, who have to meet a number of strict criteria relating to past and present conduct, are cleared to run.

Nakhid’s campaign team said earlier this week he had lodged his five nominations to FIFA to stand in the election but it is clear he did not succeed.

He was one of the panelists at this week’s Play the Game conference in Denmark when he declined to name the associations concerned but gave an angry indication they may never actually have put pen to paper and, quite possibly, ended up endorsing a rival candidate instead. Under the rules, federations cannot nominate more than one challenger.

“The FAs have asked me not to reveal their names because they fear there will be reprisals and that bothers me,” said Nakhid. “We are talking about grown men in a sport that is supposed to be a great sport, and they are afraid to say they have backed a candidate.”

Reports suggested that Nakhid’s candidacy was ruled out due to the fact he only received four valid nominations. The BBC said his representatives were believed to be writing to Fifa to demand an explanation as to why he was barred.

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Abideen Owolabi

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