3 Jun 2015

Sepp Blatter: who should replace the Fifa president?

Sepp Blatter has resigned as Fifa president, with some candidates for the job making themselves known. Fifa’s ethics committee will do integrity checks. Here’s what we know already.

The election to replace Blatter won’t be held for at least four months, in order to organise the extraordinary congress of 209 football associations. It’s possible that the vote won’t be held until sometime between December 2015 and May 2016.

Channel 4 News has drawn up an initial list of what we know about the names being linked to a Fifa presidential bid – from the likely to the remote chances.

Here are the main names linked to international football’s top job:


Prince Ali Bin al Hussein

Prince Ali won enough votes against Sepp Blatter last week to take the Fifa presidential election to a second round. He is also the first candidate to announce he would run for the presidency in the new election.

Talking to Channel 4 News on Tuesday evening, Prince Ali said: “I am very happy that the change happened.”

Asked about if the World Cup allocations to Russia and Qatar should be reconsidered he said that “every country has the right to host the World Cup” but that his key consideration is human rights – specifically referring to Qatar’s use of Asian migrants workers.

However, in the Jordanian royal’s home country they still also use the kafala system as in Qatar, where world cup stadia construction workers cannot change jobs or even leave the country without the permission of their sponsoring company.

Prince Ali has not been tarnished with decades in football and is seen as young and eager. However, he struggled to secure votes from Asia, who he represents as a Fifa vice president.

Michael Platini

Michael Platini, the Uefa president, did not want to stand against Sepp Blatter in the most recent election. He may now see this as the time to put himself forward.

The former France captain called Mr Blatter’s decision to step down a “brave decision”. However, when the corruption allegation emerged at Fifa’s congress last week he said he was “sick of it” and said that he had advised Mr Blatter to resign.

In 2010 Platini had a famous lunch with Nicolas Sarkozy (then president), the crown prince of Qatar Tamin bin Haman al-Thani, and a representative of an investment fund that then owned Paris St Germain football club – ten days before Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup.

Platini subsequently voted for the Qatari bid and the Qataris bought Paris Saint Germain, through an investment company called Qatari Sports Investments (QSI).

There is no indication of wrongdoing, and Platini maintains that he made his decisions independently of the meetings and appointments.

Mr Platini supported Prince Ali in the election against Mr Blatter, saying that “Fifa needs a new president”.

Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa

The head of the Asian football confederation – a bloc that backed Mr Blatter in the recent election – could take advantage of Mr Blatter’s departure to pick up some of the country’s that were loyal to him.

The Bahraini royal may also get the support Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, a sports powerbroker from Kuwait, who has also been touted as a potential presidential candidate.

Following Mr Blatter’s re-election, Sheikh Salman said: “The AFC has always supported the Fifa president and we are happy to continue working with him and Fifa to further develop Asian and world football into the future,”

However, Sheikh Salman has himself been at the centre of scandal – in this case over the alleged arrest and torture of Bahraini footballers.

In 2013 three human rights organisations wrote to Fifa asking for the sheikh’s nomination as AFC president be overturned due to the allegations. A number of Bahraini sportsmen were arrested and imprisoned for taking part in pro-democracy demonstrations in 2011.

Sheikh Salman was alleged to have helped identify footballers who took part.

“We would like to bring to your kind attention the most important acts of revenge carried out by Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa against groups that are affiliated with football,” The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights wrote to Sepp Blatter.

Sheikh Salman vigorously denied the allegations against him, questioning whether there was any proof.

You may not have heard of…

Jim Boyce

The outgoing British Fifa vice-president was one of those who called for the Garcia report – an internal Fifa report into allegations of corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids – to be published.

He has said that Fifa has changed considerably for the better in recent years, but that action should be taken against anyone involved in corruption from earlier.

Jerome Champagne

A former French diplomat, Champagne ran for the 2015 election but withdrew his candidacy because he did not secure enough support. He was a personal advisor to Blatter and contributed to his 2002 re-election campaign.

Blatter was “sacrificing himself” for Fifa, Champagne said after the Fifa president’s resignation.

David Gill

The former chief-executive of Manchester United had declared he would not serve on Fifa’s executive committee, as Britain’s Fifa vice-president, out of protest to the re-election of Blatter.

Following Blatter’s resignation he will “reconsider” his position. He said: “I am more than willing to play my part in helping to bring about a positive future for FIFA and to work with the many people within the organisation who are only committed to developing and promoting the game around the world.”

Alfredo Hawit

Hawit was recently promoted to head the Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean Football Association (Concacaf), after its previous president, Jeffrey Webb, was arrested as a part of the Fifa corruption probe.

He is a lawyer by profession and played professional football for Honduran club sides Progreso, Olimpia and Motagua

Issa Hayatou

As president of the powerful African bloc of Fifa nations, the Cameroonian former athlete could potentially win a lot of support.

Hayatou has been at the centre of corruption allegations, however, including claims by the BBC that he took bribes in the 1990s regarding the awarding of contracts for the sale of television rights, and by the Sunday Times in 2011 that he accepted bribes from Qatar to secure his support for the 2022 World Cup bid.

He has denied the allegations.

Michel d’Hooghe

Another senior Fifia official who threatened to resign in the wake of the corruption scandal was the Belgian Fifa executive member d’Hooghe. D’Hooghe, who has been on Fifa’s Executive since 1988, said he “will no longer continue to participate (in FIFA) under such conditions.”

In August 2011 d’Hooghe admitted he had received a painting from Viacheslav Koloskov, an adviser to Russia’s successful 2018 World Cup bid. Fifa’s Ethics Committee later cleared him of any wrongdoing.

There was also an allegation that one of d’Hooghe’s relatives was offered a job in Qatar shortly after the 2022 World Cup vote. The ethics committee has said there is “no concrete evidence” d’Hooghe’s vote was influenced.

Wolfgang Niersbach

A former sports journalist, Niersbach is now president of the German Football Association and was recently elected to the Fifa executive committee.

He made no secret of his support of Prince Ali against Blatter in the recent election. Following Blatter’s resignation he said it was “absolutely the right decision” and “one could also say that it was long overdue”.

Michel van Praag

The current chairman of the Royal Dutch Football Association, who serves on the Fifa executive committee, had been running against Mr Blatter in the recent election, but withdrew his support in order to back Prince Ali.

It is understood that he pulled out of the race on the condition that Prince Ali ensure that the presidency be limited to two terms and human rights aspects regarding employment of migrant workers be better protected.

After Blatter’s departure he tweeted: “I wanted change for the Fifa and this may be a very big step in the right direction.”

Jerome Valcke

Blatter’s right hand man has been named by the New York Times and other media as the previously unidentified official responsible for a $10m payment to disgraced former Fifa vice president Jack Warner in 2008.

Mr Valcke has denied authorising the payment and Fifa has said the payments were authorised by Julio Grondona, former chairman of its finance committee, who died last year – and were legitimate.

The payment is at the centre of the Fifa corruption scandal and the US investigation into Fifa officials.

The famous

Luis Figo

The famous Portuguese football legend Figo was one of the most recognisable names who challenged Blatter for the Fifa presidency in 2015 – though he withdrew his candidacy a week before the election.

“Change is finally coming,” Figo said following Blatter’s departure. “I said on Friday that the day would come sooner or later. Here it is!

“Now we should, responsibly and calmly, find a consensual solution worldwide in order to start new era of dynamism, transparency and democracy in Fifa.”

David Ginola

Before the recent election, the former French international told Channel 4 News the vote needed to be postponed, as the scandal broke. Ginola has confirmed he will run in the new Fifa election. Ginola briefly threw his hat in the ring for the previous election, with his campaign linked to a prominent bookmaker.

Diego Maradona

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has suggested Argentina’s favourite son take up the Fifa presidency.