Football: The men who might be after Fifa's top job

The empty chair of Fifa president Joseph S. Blatter prior to a press conference at the Fifa headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, on June 2, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA
The empty chair of Fifa president Joseph S. Blatter prior to a press conference at the Fifa headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, on June 2, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA

LONDON (REUTERS) - Fifa is facing a turning point in its history with the end of president Sepp Blatter's 17-year grip on power.

He was only the eighth man to hold the office since Fifa was formed 111 years ago, and in the last 54 years only three men have been president: Stanley Rous of England, who held the post for 13 years from 1961 to 1974; Joao Havelange, who was there for 24 years from 1974-98; and Blatter.

It is unlikely that anyone will remain at the helm for that long if age and term limits for future presidents are instituted as part of reforms.

Here are some of the men who might be candidates:

1. Michel Platini, France, 59


The current Uefa president was once close to Blatter but they gradually drifted apart. Platini is considered one of the greatest footballers ever, playing 72 times for France and leading them to victory in the 1984 European championships.

2. Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, Jordan, 39


Blatter said the 73 votes Prince Ali collected in the first round of voting proved to Blatter that he no longer had the backing of the world. Prince Ali may take another shot at the position but he is unlikely to run if his mentor Platini does.

3. Jerome Champagne, France, 56


The former French diplomat worked at Fifa for 11 years and rose to the position of deputy secretary-general before leaving in 2010. He was the first to declare his candidacy for the 2015 race but had to pull out because he did not get the required five nominations.

4. Wolfgang Niersbach, Germany, 64


A former sports journalist, the popular German started to climb within football's inner circles in the late 1980s when then West Germany hosted the 1988 European championships and he worked as chief of media for the organisation.

Now the president of the German Football Association, he was elected to the Fifa executive committee this year and would bring a modern reformist approach to Fifa while fostering global cooperation. He also made no secret that he supported Prince Ali in the recent vote.

5. Domenico Scala, Italy/Switzerland, 50


If anyone from within Fifa was to stand a chance of a shot at the top job, it could be the authoritative Swiss-Italian businessman, who has been independent chairman of Fifa's Audit and Compliance Committee since May 2012.

He has had a career in banking and in 2004 was named "Young Global Leader" by the World Economic Forum (WEF). He is a long shot, and could well be overseeing the election process, but is not to be ruled out.

6. Jerome Valcke, France, 54


If Valcke thought he might follow Blatter into the presidential office in the way that Blatter followed Joao Havelange, he probably should think again.

He is seen as too close to Blatter to be a credible alternative.

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