TV debate for Fifa candidates?

MIAMI • American sports television network ESPN has invited the five candidates in Fifa's presidential election to participate in a debate on the crisis-hit football world governing body's future.

Said a spokesman of the network: "Our goal is to provide a forum for an open, transparent discussion about the future governance of the sport in advance of the election that will determine who occupies the most powerful position in global football."

The candidates are Frenchman Jerome Champagne, Jordanian Prince Ali Al Hussein, Swiss Gianni Infantino, South Africa's Tokyo Sexwale and Sheikh Salman Ebrahim Al-Khalifa of Bahrain.

The vote for the next president is due to take place on Feb 26 at a special congress in Zurich.

Sepp Blatter, president since 1998, has been banned from football for eight years by Fifa's Ethics Committee and the organisation is currently being led by acting chief Issa Hayatou of Cameroon.

Champagne told the Sporting Intelligence website that the ESPN debate would be held in London on Jan 29.

The former Fifa deputy general secretary also said that he had agreed to participate and had long been in favour of such a discussion. No televised debate has ever been held in a Fifa presidential election.

British broadcasters BBC and Sky made a similar proposal before May's vote but Blatter turned down the invitation.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 31, 2015, with the headline 'TV debate for Fifa candidates?'. Print Edition | Subscribe