Delegates from 209 countries are expected to elect Sepp Blatter’ s successor.
After last-minute pitching and lobbying of votes on Thursday, all five presidential candidates arrived at the Extraordinary FIFA congress which is underway at Zurich’s Hallenstadion.
Before the congress, the candidates spoke of their expectations.
Now or Never
“Well I think today is a crucial day for FIFA. FIFA is at a crossroads and it’s crucial that the 209 associations take the right decision today. It’s crucial that the reforms pass, it’s crucial that a new, strong leader is elected to bring football back to FIFA and FIFA back to football and that’s why I’m here,” UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino said when he arrived.
“I think the first important thing is the reforms, no matter who is elected, the reform has to be approved and it’s only the beginning. I’m sure the process is a long process. But it’s a good start to show to the people and to the rest of the world that we are serious in making those necessary changes and I hope all goes well today,” Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said.
South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale who did not get the continent’s backing, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan and Jerome Champagne are all hoping to get the top job to effect changes.
“It’s about making sure that we elect a leader behind whom the entire FIFA football family will rally so that we restore the trust as well as the confidence of the public back into FIFA, that includes officials, players, fans and other people who are stakeholders of this organisation. That’s what is important about today. It is extraordinary, not ordinary,” Tokyo Sexwale said.
“I think today is the most crucial day and the most significant day in the history of the organisation and I hope that today brings the hopes and aspirations and fulfills the hopes and aspirations of the millions of football fans around the world,” Prince Ali said.
“For me it’s not very important. What is important is for the institution. Today football is globalised but unequal. We need a strong FIFA to govern, to regulate the game and to redistribute the money to correct the inequalities inside the game. It’s also a very important day for the organisation because it’s facing three icebergs like the Titantic; the continuation of the problems, the submission to vested interest or the division,” Jerome Champagne said.
Africa has 54 votes, making up more than a quarter of the football association eligible to vote. The Confederation of Africa Football, CAF endorsed Sheikh Salman earlier in February.
Africa en bloc behind Sheikh Salman and reforms https://t.co/Vh1EbTn9lN— CAF (@CAF_Online) February 25, 2016