FIFA has convened an Extraordinary Congress in Zurich to elect a successor to Sepp Blatter as president of the governing body of international football. Blatter is under criminal investigation.
The congress will also decide on reforms to clean up soccer following a FIFA corruption scandal of epic proportions. Five candidates have been cleared to stand.
FIFA had earlier ruled out its own vice president Michael Platini, the suspended head of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), who, like Blatter and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valke, is at the centre of allegations of corruption.
The remaining candidates approved by FIFA's ethics committee are Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, French journalist and diplomat Jérôme Champagne, Asian Football Confederation president and FIFA vice president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, former member of the organising committee for South Africa's 2010 World Cup Tokyo Sexwale and European federation general secretary Gianni Infantino.
Blatter tended his resignation days after his re-election in May 2015 amid two corruption probes of his organisation. Seven FIFA officials were arrested on May 27 following a raid on a luxury hotel in Zurich. They were among 14 officials and associates indicted by United States authorities on racketeering and bribery charges. Swiss prosecutors have also begun a criminal investigation into how the rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were awarded.
Date written/update: 2016-01-24