Top contenders eye post as next FIFA president

Zurich, June 4 (IANS) Sepp Blatter’s decision to stand down as FIFA president has kicked off a race to succeed him as head of the world’s richest and most powerful sporting federation, but the vote is not expected till at least December.

South Korean tycoon Chung Mong-Joon and Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan, who was beaten by Blatter in a vote last Friday, could be the candidates for the position, reports Xinhua.

Prince Ali, the president of the Jordanian FA, confirmed his running for the FIFA presidency moments after Blatter’s resignation.

As the former vice president, Chung Mong-Joon said he would think about whether to run for the presidency.

Chung told a news conference on Wednesday: “I’ll carefully think about it before making a decision on whether to participate in the FIFA presidency election.”

Zico, Brazil’s football great of the 1970s and 80s, said he was also considering running for the post.

But most eyes remain on European football’s governing body, UEFA president Michel Platini.

Other potential replacements include former Portuguese international Luis Figo and Argentine football legend Diego Maradona.

Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro has recommended Maradona as the next FIFA president.

His comments on Wednesday came close on the heels of Blatter announcing his resignation on Tuesday. Speaking on a national television programme, Maduro said Maradona had been calling out FIFA for decades, only to be laughed at.

President of the United States’ Soccer Federation, Indian-origin American Sunil Gulati’s name has also cropped up as a potential candidate.

Allahabad-born Gulati, 55, has been the single most important person to develop football in the country. He is currently serving a record third term as president.

Gulati is a known critic of Blatter and voted for Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein in the FIFA presidential elections.

Blatter, who has ruled FIFA for 17 years, won a fifth term in an election on Friday. But renewed criticism of his reign and new corruption revelations forced him into a corner, ultimately compelling him to resign on Tuesday.

“While I have a mandate from the membership of FIFA, I do not feel that I have a mandate from the entire world of football — the fans, the players, the clubs, the people who live, breathe and love football,” he said, while announcing his resignation at a press conference on June 2.

The 79-year-old Blatter is under investigation in the US for possible wrongdoing.

The process to find a successor to him could take up to a year.

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