Sepp Blatter - Elyxandro Cegarra/Panoramic/Icon Sportswire
Sepp Blatter – Elyxandro Cegarra/Panoramic/Icon Sportswire

There’s an election coming up that will elicit arguments between many factions of people. It has sparked debate and discussions for over a year now and doesn’t look to stop anytime soon. Sorry Trump lovers, we aren’t talking about the US presidential elections. On Friday Morning (3:00am EST) the most powerful sports organization in the world will elect a new leader to replace the current president, Sepp Blatter. The 209 football associations comprising FIFA will vote to replace the ultra-corrupt leader.

For those who aren’t familiar with the process:

Neymar & Leonel Messi - BPI/Imago/Icon Sportswire
Neymar & Leonel Messi – BPI/Imago/Icon Sportswire

A two-thirds majority is required for victory in the opening round; in subsequent rounds more than 50 per cent of the vote is needed, with the candidate receiving the lowest number of votes dropping out. Africa has 54 votes, Europe 53, Asia 46, North and Central America and the Caribbean 35, Oceania 11 and South America 10. Why is this such a big deal? Basically, the guy elected will be making critical decisions that will either lead FIFA out of this corruption scandal or keep it right where it is.

Here’s a quick rundown of the five FIFA presidential candidates:

Gianni Infantino is a lawyer and sports administrator who joined UEFA in 2000 and rose to his current position of UEFA general secretary at the most visible federation in the world. He is fluent in 5 languages: English, French, German, Spanish and Italian. Oddly enough, he was only convinced to run last second following the suspension of Michel Platini (UEFA President), who is appealing an eight year ban for his involvement with Blatter. His motivation to actually want to be president is questioned since he would step aside if Platini was allowed back in the race. He also has questions to answer over UEFA’s response to a match-fixing scandal in Greece. There are still a lot of question marks concerning him.

Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa is a member of Bahrain’s royal family, he has held a number of posts with the Bahrain Football Association, becoming its president in 2002 before moving on to become President of the Asian Football Confederation and a FIFA executive committee member. There is a question about how qualified he is since he is a member of the royal family and most likely was handed his position at the Bahrain FA. He is also accused of being directly involved in the repression of dissidents during anti-government protests in Bahrain and of preventing an audit of the AFC in 2012 because it suggested that the organization had been used to launder money. These are a handful of allegations that Al Khalifa faces prior to his candidacy.

Jerome Champagne is a former French diplomat, his work with the 1998 World Cup helped him spend 11 years working at FIFA under Sepp Blatter, culminating with his rise to FIFA director of international relations. His diplomatic background has helped him take on difficult diplomatic situations in world football, but he is considered a long shot to win. Since he has spent 11 years in FIFA, his time with the organization is in some ways considered tainted because it has fallen under Blatters’ leadership.

Prince Ali bin Al Hussein is the son of the former King of Jordan and half-brother of the current King. He has been President of the Jordan Football Association before moving into the role of Vice President of FIFA. He ran against Sepp Blatter in the last election and only received more than a third of the vote, he is extremely young at age 40 and there are questions about his qualifications due to his family ties. Due to his lack of votes in the previous election, he is also a long shot to win this upcoming election. Because he has been involved with FIFA under Blatter, The feeling around the elections is that he has corrupt ties as well.

Tokyo Sexwale, Besides having by far the best name from all the candidates, he is a wealthy South African businessman who was imprisoned with Nelson Mandela and has served on various FIFA committees. He is the biggest long-shot of the group, and his long time ties to Sepp Blatter, may have tainted his candidacy as corrupt.

Sepp Blatter Press Conf. - Xinhua/Imago/Icon Sportswire
Sepp Blatter Press Conf. – Xinhua/Imago/Icon Sportswire

Overall, All of the candidates have ties to the current, corrupt form of FIFA and meaningful change is completely unlikely. The corruption goes far and deep into the very federations that elect the president. The best chance at cleaning everything up would have been to have a candidate not associated with any of the current regime to run; an outsider. Seeing as there is no such candidate running, we are looking at a repeat of the last regime. Though I do do not have proof to or any possible future corruption, the fact that it might be true says everything you need to know about FIFA. A new president will be elected Friday and as of right now it looks like nothing will change.

 

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