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Tuesday 6 December 2016

FIFA to hold special congress to elect Sepp Blatter successor in February

The empty seat of FIFA President Sepp Blatter is pictured before a news conference after the Extraordinary FIFA Executive Committee Meeting at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich
The empty seat of FIFA President Sepp Blatter is pictured before a news conference after the Extraordinary FIFA Executive Committee Meeting at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich

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.

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.

Platini has yet to make a final decision but sources say Asia has swung behind Europe, South America and CONCACAF in supporting the Frenchman 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 Ahmed Al Sabah of Kuwait.

If Blatter does stay in power until February 26 - and several FIFA figures including Platini and England's David Gill want him to quit as soon as possible - it means he will have worked at FIFA for 40 years.

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