Sports / Soccer

Africa could hold key as FIFA rivals make last pitches

(Agencies) Updated: 2016-02-26 09:05

Africa could hold key as FIFA rivals make last pitches

In this July 17, 2012 file photo the seat of FIFA President Joseph Sepp Blatter is empty ahead of a press conference after the extraordinary meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee, at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.  [Photo/Agencies] 

ZURICH - The five men vying for the leadership of world soccer's scandal-hit governing body made their final pitches on Thursday in a contest that could hinge on who secures the bulk of Africa's 54 votes.

Delegates from more than 200 countries will elect a new president on Friday to succeed Sepp Blatter of Switzerland, two days after Blatter and European soccer chief Michel Platini lost their appeals against bans for ethics violations.

Whoever takes over from Blatter, who ran FIFA for 17 years like a globe-trotting head of state, will inherit a very different job with a focus on crisis management, after dozens of international soccer officials were indicted in the United States last year for racketeering, money-laundering and bribery.

African countries make up more than a quarter of the 207 football associations eligible to vote. On the final day of campaigning, there were sharply conflicting versions of how they would cast their ballots.

While the vice-president of their continental federation said virtually all would back Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, several delegates told Reuters the African vote could be split.

Switzerland's Gianni Infantino has said he is confident of winning more than half the African votes, while Liberian soccer chief Musa Bility predicted 27 of them would go to Jordan's Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein.

Previous Page 1 2 3 Next Page

Most Popular
What's Hot