In Depth

Fifa corruption: the candidates to replace Sepp Blatter

Who is in the running to take over the reins at football's scandal-hit governing body?

Fifa is expected to choose a new president in December, when Sepp Blatter finally relinquishes control of football's governing body.

The Swiss has controlled the organisation for the last 17 years but was forced to resign just four days into an unprecedented fifth term in office amid claims of widespread corruption levelled against some of Fifa's most senior figures.

With Blatter on his way out, the fight to take the reins at Fifa is underway. The decision is expected to be made at a special meeting in Zurich on 16 December.

"It is a once-in-a-generation tussle for power and control of world football that will play out over the coming months and could decide whether Fifa is reformed from top to bottom or ends up an even more compromised version of the dysfunctional beast ridden by Sepp Blatter for the past 17 years," writes Owen Gibson in The Guardian.

Replacing Blatter and reforming Fifa will be "a tall order", says the Daily Telegraph. The ideal candidate is "someone untainted by his toxic regime and with the determination to scrub this house clean, weed out his cronies... and not only win back public support but also keep Fifa united...  So it needs someone with not just a reforming zeal but the personality and profile to carry it through."

With so much at stake, it is no surprise that the battle to succeed Blatter will be keenly contested. So who are the favourites campaigning to take over from Blatter?

Prince Ali Al-Hussein: Odds 5/4

The Jordanian was Blatter's sole opponent in the election last month and, boosted by the scandal that engulfed the organisation in the days before the vote, he won 73 votes. It was more than most expected but not enough to seriously threaten Blatter, and he withdrew before the second round.

But the 39-year-old is expected to stand again in December. He is "not your average sports executive", says The Guardian. Prince Ali is the brother of King Abdullah of Jordan and a Sandhurst-trained former special forces officer. According to Hashemite tradition, he is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.

He stood against Blatter on "a platform of transparency and grassroots development" and "wants to upgrade the role of member associations, particularly in the developing world, and downgrade the power of the job he is vying for...  to make it less imperial". He has also promised more money for member nations.

Michel Platini: Odds 9/4

The Frenchman's profile is scarely any lower today than it was when he was a star in the 1980s. After retirement, the elegant midfielder rose through the ranks to become president of Uefa. "Experienced in the murky world of football politics, Platini is a smart operator and will be the number one choice for many," says ESPN.

But things are not that simple. Platini was once a follower of Blatter and has been involved in his fair share of controversy. Platini was one of those who voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup and it has been alleged that then French president Nicolas Sarkozy may have pushed him to do so.

His Uefa connections may make him unpopular elsewhere in the world. Many of Blatter's supporters blame Europe for forcing him out of office.

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah: Odds 5/1

Described by The Times as a "a Kuwaiti Blatter loyalist", al-Sabah could win votes from those nations who prospered under the Blatter regime, and will be a key figure in the election.

He controls Kuwait's Olympic affairs and usually gets what he wants at the IOC. He is an experienced sporting powerbroker and hugely influential in Asia, where he acted as Blatter's chief whip. The Guardian says he was levered into place to counter the challenge of Prince Ali.

If he runs and can win over the African vote he will be one of the favourites, but "root-and-branch reform may not be top of his agenda".

Luis Figo: Odds 14/1

The Portuguese star threw his hat into the ring in the last election, before taking it out again and backing Prince Ali. He slammed Fifa as a "dictatorship" under Blatter and is clearly passionate about how the game is run.

"The campaign opened his eyes to the reality of Fifa politics, which shocked him at times," says the New York Times. "But anyone who played for both Real Madrid and Barcelona ought to be eminently capable of walking a political tightrope."

Despite running an "impressive" campaign – he had "the most comprehensive manifesto of any of the candidates and... was well-received wherever he went, says ESPN – he is inexperienced and may have to wait his turn at the top.

Chung mong-Joon: 15/1

The former Fifa vice-president and billionaire heir to South Korea's Hyundai empire flew to Europe after Blatter's resignation to discuss the possibility of standing in the election. South Korea's Yonhap news agency describes him as "a vocal critic of Blatter", although he was his number two until 2011.

Chung was influential in securing the 2002 World Cup for Japan and Korea, but says he "failed" in his task of preventing wrongdoing at the organisation while he was there. He told the BBC that he wanted to change Fifa to a more "open organisation not serving individuals but serving football's global objectives" and has called on Blatter to leave with immediate effect.

Zico: 33/1

The Brazil legend has confirmed that he will run for president of Fifa. The BBC describes Zico, whose real name is Arthur Antunes Coimbra, as "one of his country's most celebrated sportsmen... best known for his creative flair and vision on the pitch".

However, it says that he has "no real background in football politics" and adds: "Many will feel this is not the time for a novice."

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