Zurich - FIFA will hold a special election on February 26 to replace president
Sepp Blatter, football's scandal-tainted world body said on Monday as
French football great Michel Platini moved closer to launching a
The FIFA executive, including rivals Blatter and
Platini, agreed the date at a meeting in Zurich where the "exraordinary
elective FIFA congress" will be held.
Blatter announced on June 2,
four days after winning a fifth term as president, that he would stand
down as a major corruption storm hit world football's ruling body.
decision was a victory for Blatter who had wanted the vote pushed back
until 2016. UEFA and some other regional bodies had sought a December
Blatter was to announce at a later press conference
whether the executive committee agreed to first reform measures for the
multi-billion dollar body.
FIFA is still reeling from the arrest of seven officials at a Zurich congress two days before Blatter won reelection on May 29.
seven are among 14 people - soccer officials and sports business
executives - accused by US authorities over more than $150 million in
bribes paid to secure television and marketing contracts for football
Former FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb appeared in a
New York court on Saturday after being extradited from Switzerland last
week. He denied bribery charges but was only released on $10 million
Swiss authorities are in parallel investigating the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.
Candidates for the FIFA presidency have until October 26 to put their names forward.
far only Brazilian football great Zico has officially declared himself.
But Platini is considered the favourite to take over if he decides to
Platini will decide in the next two weeks whether to run, a source close to the UEFA leadership said.
60-year-old Frenchman is closing on a campaign after getting verbal
support from four of the six regional confederations that make up
football's world body, the source said.
Only the Confederation
of African Football (CAF) - led by Blatter ally Issa Hiyatou - and
the Oceania confederation is not backing Platini.
The UEFA leader
has made increasing calls for reform of the world body in recent months.
These have been heightened since the raid on the Zurich hotel to detain
the seven FIFA officials.
"He is seriously considering running.
He will make a decision in the next two weeks maximum and then make an
announcement," the source said.
If Platini, now in his third term
as president of Europe's UEFA, decides not to stand he could reveal who
he will back in the election.
"Platini knows that the decision must be taken quckly to close the door against any other challenger," the source said.
backed Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, a former FIFA vice president from
Jordan, when he stood against Blatter in May. The prince could again be a
candidate in February's election.
Chung Mong-Joon, another former FIFA member from South Korea, is also considering a run.
football great and former sports minister Zico has already said he will
stand. Argentine football legend Diego Maradona has also indicated he
is ready to join a campaign.
European football leaders say Platini
has been consulting widely about whether to stand in the election. This
was confirmed by the source.
"He has been listening to a lot of
people and weighing up everything they have said about FIFA's future. He
has been very touched by the warm comments of support he has had.
sometimes statements that are made are not worth as much as they should
be," the source warned to explain the UEFA chief's hesitation.
will also assess the level of support at the draw for the World Cup
qualifying tournaments which is to be made in St Petersburg, Russia on