Sheikh Salman stepped up to contest FIFA’s top job when it became evident he could.
Stepping in after an announcement of Michel Platini’s ban, he may look back and thank his stars he did.
Weeks after, he remains a strong contender in the race, which reaches homestretch on Friday.
In May 2013, Salman was elected president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Last May, the AFC backed Blatter to serve a fifth term as FIFA president.
Salman and the AFC were naturally gravitating towards Platini, until details emerged of an alleged corruption case leading to the former UEFA boss and embattled FIFA boss Sepp Blatter’s exit.
Sheikh Salman is the clear favourite and his chances look good, observers say. He can count on the majority of Asia’s 46 votes which will be crucial to him securing many of Africa’s 54 votes.
Last month, the AFC signed a controversial memorandum of understanding with Confederation of African football (CAF), leading to a substantial pledge of support.
Salman’s team also believes he will receive 18 of the 25 votes of the Caribbean Football Union and 5 of the 10 votes of the South American CONMEBOL confederation.
Salman has said he will be a non-executive president and will delegate responsibility. Just like him, many others also think FIFA needs a more hands-on approach at a time of crisis.
Salman says he does not want to be paid, but he will publish the salaries of other senior officials.
He wants to divide FIFA into two parts. There will be “Business FIFA” and “Football FIFA,” he says.
Sheikh Salman is also facing criticism and controversy. The latter was accused by a British MP of embezzling two million euros as president of the Bahraini federation.
The claims, were swiftly rejected by Salman.
How they vote
The new president will be elected in a secret ballot of FIFA’s 209 member associations, but Kuwait and Indonesia are banned, so there may be only 207 votes up for grabs.
Africa has 54 votes, Europe 53, Asia 46, North and Central America and the Caribbean 35, Oceania 11 and South America 10.A candidate needs two thirds of the votes to win in the first round.