Fifa mulls delaying presidential election: Sources

In this file picture taken on June 11, 2014 Uefa president Michel Platini attends the 64th Fifa congress in Sao Paulo, on the eve of the opening match of the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.
In this file picture taken on June 11, 2014 Uefa president Michel Platini attends the 64th Fifa congress in Sao Paulo, on the eve of the opening match of the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.PHOTO: AFP

ZURICH (Reuters) - Fifa is discussing delaying the election for their next president following the suspensions given to Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, two sources have told Reuters.

The issue is expected to be on the agenda of an emergency executive committee meeting which could make the decision to postpone the vote, scheduled for Feb. 26, the sources, with knowledge of the discussions, said on Friday (Oct 9).

England's Football Association said they were behind the idea of an emergency meeting and FIFA said a decision on the issue was likely to be made next week.

A delay to the election could make it easier for Uefa president Michel Platini to be a candidate to replace the departing Blatter - if he succeeds in an appeal against his ban from the game.

However, it remains to be seen whether there is enough support for both a meeting and for a change to the election date.

"For the time being, the schedule is as it is," a Fifa spokesperson told Reuters, adding that only the executive committee had the power to make a decision on the election date.

The Fifa spokesperson did not want to speculate further.

But Uefa's 54 member associations are gathering on Thursday at their headquarters in Nyon where the election will also be on the agenda, the FA spokesman said. England's FA are among the strongest supporters of Platini's candidature.

Platini was an early favourite to win the vote to replace Blatter at the helm of Fifa before he was given the 90 day ban by Fifa's Ethics Committee on Thursday. A further 45 days can be added to the provisional ban.

As it stands, the election nominations need to be provided by Oct 26 and prospective candidates need to pass an integrity check based on Fifa's Ethics code.

Unless he were to be given a swift appeal victory, Platini, who delivered his nomination papers just hours before his ban, would find himself in the very tricky position of trying to pass that test while banned from the game.

But a change in the date of the vote could see the entire timetable of the election change providing potentially more opportunity for Platini - or any other candidates who might want to enter the race once the ethics situation is clearer.

Another presidential candidate, South Korea's Chung Mong-joon, was banned for six years, meaning he will also almost certainly miss out.

Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan is the only remaining high-profile candidate along with outsider, former Brazil international Zico.

Platini's ban relates to a 2 million Swiss francs payment he received from Fifa in 2011, which is part of a Swiss criminal inquiry into Blatter.

Switzerland's Attorney General said Platini is being considered somewhere "between a witness and an accused person" in the case. Both Platini and Blatter deny they have done anything wrong and are appealling the suspensions .

Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan said he would prefer to stick with the February date depending on the outcome of the appeals process against the bans.

Dutch FA (KNVB) executive director Bert van Oostveen said he was uncertain of the best way forward but wanted European federations to remain together on the issue.

But Karl-Erik Nilsson, chair of the Swedish Football Association (SvFF), told Reuters the date should not change. "We want the election to be held on Feb. 26 as planned. Together with many European countries, we supported Michel Platini's candidacy and we need more information about exactly what has happened.