FIFA has announced it will hold a special congress to elect Sepp Blatter’s successor on February 26 next year – meaning he is set to remain in power for another seven months.
An extraordinary meeting of FIFA’s executive committee decided on the date of the election despite UEFA members having pushed for an earlier date.
Candidates for the position will have to be nominated before October 26 – UEFA president Michel Platini has emerged as the favourite after being urged to run by four of the six FIFA confederations.
The 60-year-old UEFA president has yet to make a final decision but sources say Asia has swung behind Europe, South America and CONCACAF in supporting Platini to succeed Blatter.
Platini held talks in Zurich on Sunday night with Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, and as significantly with Kuwait’s FIFA executive member Sheikh Ahmad Al Sabah of Kuwait.
Both men are key to the Frenchman’s chances of success – Al Sabah is viewed as the most important powerbroker in the International Olympic Committee and together with Salman should be able to swing 46 countries behind him, enough to secure a majority.
Platini has long-held links with Kuwait – in 1988 at the invitation of the Emir of Kuwait he came out of retirement to make a guest appearance for the Arabic country in an exhibition match against the USSR, playing 21 minutes.
Platini’s decision will rest on his personal feelings – he has in the past questioned whether he wants to give up his involvement with UEFA, and its influence over European football, in exchange for FIFA.
Platini would be the clear favourite for FIFA however, and were he to win then Germany’s Wolfgang Niersbach would be a likely successor for the UEFA presidency.
Blatter announced on June 2 that he will step down as president, four days after being re-elected for a fifth term in office, after the corruption crisis that engulfed FIFA.
US justice authorities have indicted 18 people on football-related corruption charges while Swiss prosecutors have launched a separate investigation into bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups being hosted by Russia and Qatar respectively.
Former FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer has pleaded guilty to corruption charges including accepting bribes to vote for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup.

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