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Meet the 4 candidates bidding for FIFA presidency...

By Rediff Sports Desk
February 02, 2015 18:03 IST
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FIFA

FIFA officials vote for FIFA's presidential election duirng the 61st FIFA congress at the Hallenstadion in Zurich June 1, 2011. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

FIFA have confirmed that incumbent Sepp Blatter, former Portugal forward Luis Figo, Dutch FA president Michael van Praag and Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan have bid to stand for president.

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Soccer's governing body said in a statement that the four would be subject to integrity checks carried out by FIFA's ethics committee before they could be formally declared as candidates.

Frenchman Jerome Champagne said earlier on Monday that he had not received backing from five national associations, as required under the rules, and would not be able to stand.

Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter

FIFA president Sepp Blatter. Photograph: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

Blatter, 78, is standing for a fifth mandate, having been in power since 1998 and is widely expected to win the vote in Zurich on May 29.

He is expected to sweep up most of the votes from Asia, Africa and South America. UEFA, which has 53 of the 209 votes, has not yet publicly declared which candidate it will support.

Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein 

Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein

Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein with FIFA Presdient, Joseph Blatter. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan is currently on FIFA's executive committee as Asian vice-president and, at 39, would become the second youngest president in FIFA's 111-year history.

The current FIFA vice-president and head of the Jordanian and West Asian Football Federations said he had been encouraged to stand in the May elections in Zurich against incumbent Sepp Blatter and challenger Jerome Champagne.

"I am seeking the presidency of FIFA because I believe it is time to shift the focus away from administrative controversy and back to sport," Prince Ali said.

"This was not an easy decision. It came after careful consideration and many discussions with respected FIFA colleagues over the last few months.

"The message I heard, over and over, was that it is time for a change. The world game deserves a world-class governing body — an International Federation that is a service organisation and a model of ethics, transparency and good governance."

Michael van Praag

Michael van Praag

Michael van Praag, KNVB President takes a photo of the Trophy on his mobile phone during the UEFA Europa League trophy handover ceremony. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Michael van Praag, the 67-year-old president of the Dutch FA (KNVB), threw his hat into the ring saying it was time for Blatter to go.

The key question, however, is whether any of the ‘serious’ candidates stand a chance of unseating Blatter.

"Everyone expects the small team to lose but sometimes they win," Van Praag said.

Luis Figo

Luis Figo

Luis Figo draws Manchester United FC during the UEFA Champions League 2013/14 season quarter-finals draw at the UEFA headquarters. Photograph: Harold Cunningham/Getty Images for UEFA

Former Portugal winger Luis Figo is also in the running.

"I care about football, so what I'm seeing regarding the image of FIFA – not only now but in the past years – I don’t like it," Figo as quoted as saying in CNN.

"I've been talking with so many important people in football – players, managers, president of federations – and they all think that something has to be done. Last year was the World Cup, I was in Brazil and I saw the reaction of all the fans regarding the image of FIFA and I think something has to be changed.

"Change in leadership, governance, transparency and solidarity, so I think it's the moment for that."

The Portuguese legend played at clubs including Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan during his prolific career and won the Ballon d'Or in 2000 as well as the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2001.

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