Football: Nakhid launches Fifa presidential campaign with attack on front-runners

Former Trinidad and Tobago football player David Nakhid poses in front of a poster during a press conference to launch his bid for the Fifa presidency, in Beirut on Sept 28, 2015.
Former Trinidad and Tobago football player David Nakhid poses in front of a poster during a press conference to launch his bid for the Fifa presidency, in Beirut on Sept 28, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

ZURICH (REUTERS) - Former Trinidad and Tobago midfielder David Nakhid launched his campaign to be president of crisis-hit Fifa on Sunday with an attack on the two Arab royals who are the front-runners to replace the outgoing Sepp Blatter.

Nakhid, who played club football in the Swiss league and North America's Major League Soccer, said he had successfully secured the five nominations from national associations needed to become a candidate and had submitted his paperwork to Fifa's election committee.

Jordanian Prince Ali Al Hussein has also put in his nomination and the president of Asian football, Sheikh Salman Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, is also expected to do so before the Oct 26 deadline for the vote four months later.

Bookmakers have made the two Arab royals the early favourites but Nakhid, who is viewed as an outsider, said neither would be good solutions for the troubled organisation which has been hit by a series of corruption scandals.

"We don't represent big money from the Gulf nor do we represent the luxury of royalty. What we do represent is someone who can stake the claim for a better balance in the global game," Nakhid said on Sunday.

"You look at Prince Ali, someone who has been head of his own association since he was 23, 16 years. Now he wants to come and talk about reform? He has been there 16 years by decree. What can he tell us about reform? Has he had a challenger in those 16 years or has been there as a Prince? Come on."

Nakhid, who runs a football academy in Lebanon, added that he did not think Prince Ali would be good for the game and he lacked the charisma needed to lead.

The 51-year-old played 35 times for Trinidad and Tobago between 1992 and 2005.

But the Caribbean nation is best known in Fifa politics because of former Fifa vice-president and regional leader Jack Warner, who was last month banned from the game for life by Fifa's Ethics Committee after a series of corruption allegations against him.

Nakhid says he was a long-time opponent of Warner, who has denied any wrongdoing.