- Fifa goes to polls to elect successor to Blatter in Zurich
- Sheikh Salman Al Khalifa is tipped by many to win
- Gianni Infantino is also a favourite with support of Uefa
The dramatic recent history of Fifa, world football’s governing body, has unfolded at venues across Zürich in the past year, with top officials arrested at dawn at the luxury lakeside Baur au Lac hotel and police searches at Fifa’s space-age building on a hill above the Swiss city.
The action shifts to Zurich’s sports stadium where delegates from 207 national football associations will elect a new president to succeed the disgraced Sepp Blatter, who led the organisation for 18 years.
Sheikh Salman Al Khalifa: Tipped by some as frontrunner among his peers, he is the President of the Asian football confederation and has support in Africa and Asia but has been less successful in courting European football associations.
The 50-year-old man is also Chairman of the Asian Football Confederation Disciplinary Committee, and Deputy Chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.
Shaikh Al-Khalifa is a member of the Bahrain Royal Family who graduated from University of Bahrain in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in English Literature and History. Shaikh Salman was once a footballer who played for Riffa Club, a Bahrain division one team.
On 15 October 2015, he announced his candidature to become the next president of FIFA after the election of February 2016.
This announcement aroused strong criticism from human rights organizations, notably Human Rights Watch, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy who accused him of “complicity in crimes against humanity” for allegedly heading a committee that identified 150 athletes, including international footballers, involved in pro-democracy demonstrations in 2011, many of whom were later imprisoned and tortured.
He denied the allegations and said he never got himself directly involved in such acts.
Gianni Infantino: Has wooed support by pledging to increase investment in football development but must work hard to win favour in Africa.
The 45-year-old Swiss football administrator has an Italian origin and holds both Swiss and Italian nationality. He has been the general secretary of UEFA since 2009, a position that earned him the full backing of the UEFA Executive Committee for the presidency at FIFA.
Infantino is a multi-lingual lawyer and married and with four children and speaks Italian, French, German, English, and Spanish fluently.
Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein: Challenged Sepp Blatter unsuccessfully for the presidency in May 2015 and “guarantees to implement” reforms. No obvious pool of supporters but might have a chance if votes are split.
Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan is the third son of King Hussein, who continued his studies in the United Kingdom and the United States and graduated from Salisbury School in Connecticut in 1993, where he excelled in wrestling.
He entered the Royal Military Academy and earned his military freefall parachute wings. He completed his undergraduate education at Princeton University in 1999.
Prince Ali is married to Algerian-born Rym Brahimi, a former CNN journalist with who they have two children
Jerome Champagne: Has always stressed the need for reform and developing the sport.
The French diplomat served in various positions of the game in consultancy and distinguished himself well.
He left FIFA in 2010 and became football commissioner for the World Festival of Black Arts in Dakar (2010) and an adviser to the Palestinian Football Federation (PFA) and the Palestine Olympic Committee (POC), the Football Federation of Kosovo, the Cyprus Turkish Football Federation (CTFA) and finally the Congolese football club TP Mazembe.
He is married and has three children.
Champagne is considered in the world of football as a reformist.
Tokyo Sexwale: Has failed to gain momentum but might have his eye on a top position within a reformed Fifa.
Mosima Gabriel "Tokyo" Sexwale is a South African businessman, politician, anti-apartheid activist, and former political prisoner born in Soweto.
He was imprisoned on Robben Island for his anti-apartheid activities, alongside great men as Nelson Mandela.
Sexwale went into exile and went through officers' training in the Soviet Union, where he specialized in military engineering.