With Sepp Blatter no longer ruling the roost at world football governing body Fifa, who is the most likely candidate to step up and take the
Following the resignation of Sepp Blatter as Fifa president last week, the most obvious question is: Who will now take over as the most powerful person in world football? A few names have already been bandied about after Blatter’s sudden resignation on Tuesday, four days after the 79-year-old Swiss was re-elected for a fifth term. He quit as president after 17 years at the helm following a corruption crisis that has rocked the world football governing body.
Former Fifa vice-president Prince Ali bin al-Hussein and Dutch football federation president Michael van Praag of the Netherlands are favourites to take over the hot seat.
Uefa president Michel Platini, who was a big critic of Blatter, may also throw his name in the hat.
Al-Hussein, who is the 39-year-old president of the Jordan Football Association, lost to Blatter in last week’s elections after he received 73 votes from the 209 members in the first round and conceded defeat before the second round of voting could commence.
Van Praag and former world footballer of the year Luís Figo were also in the running to challenge Blatter, but pulled out days before the election to support Al-Hussein.
Figo, the former Portuguese international, has been advocating for change in the leadership of football and this might be the best time for him to try his luck. It is not clear if he will stand again or not.
Fifa secretary-general Jérôme Valcke has long been seen as Blatter’s successor.
Before last week’s revelations about the $10 million payment from South Africa to then Fifa vice-president Jack Warner, reportedly meant for the Diaspora Legacy Project, Valcke was among the favourites to take over. He has distanced himself from the payment, saying he was not involved in the initiation, approval or implementation of the legacy project.
Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Issa Hayatou’s name has also been mentioned in passing. The 68-year-old Fifa vice-president, who challenged Blatter in 2002, should have the support of CAF members if he were to stand.
Erstwhile Fifa deputy general secretary Jérôme Champagne told City Press this week the organisation “needs someone who clearly understands and loves the game”.
The 56-year-old Frenchman was among the initial four candidates for the Fifa presidency but withdrew after failing to collect enough nominations.
Champagne, who has not ruled out the possibility of vying for the vacant position, said the new president should be above politics and strive to unite the organisation. “I have not yet decided, but I don’t exclude anything. “The president must also be someone who understands and loves the world, its diversity and its complexity. Governing world football requires a clear understanding of globalisation and political-economic issues. Specifically because this globalisation of football brought fantastic opportunities but increasing inequalities as well,” added Champagne.
Michael van Praag