FIFA candidates woo CONCACAF


February 13, 2016
Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa


Four of the five candidates for FIFA president made presentations to CONCACAF officials yesterday.

On the final day of a two-day meeting of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, favourites Gianni Infantino of Switzerland and Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa of Bahrain pitched their candidacies, along with France's Jerome Champagne and Jordan's Ali Bin Al-Hussein. South Africa's Tokyo Sexwale did not make the trip.

FIFA's 209 members vote February 26 on a successor to Sepp Blatter, who headed football's governing body since 1998 and announced his resignation less than a week after he was elected to a fifth term last May.

Infantino, the No. 2 official of Europe's governing body and a favourite among the Central American nations, has proposed expanding the World Cup from 32 to 40 teams.

That idea was denounced by Champagne and at least one of the other candidates. Champagne, a former FIFA deputy general secretary, said the leaders who will elect a new president in Zurich have choices to make.

"The question is, which kind of FIFA do they want it to be?" Champagne said. "Do they want FIFA to remain a federation of 209 national associations, a FIFA that is controlled by a continental group? Do they want football like basketball, centralised in one country like the NBA? Or do they want football being played by everyone? The other question is: do they want the corruption to stop?"

CONCACAF Deputy General Secretary Jurgen Mainka said his organisation did not endorse a candidate.

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