Sheikh Salman in race for Fifa president
THE president of the Asian Football Confederation, Sheikh Salman Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, has formally entered the race to become Fifa president.
The Bahrain News Agency reported on Sunday that Sheikh Salman has submitted his paperwork to Fifa headquarters, a day ahead of the deadline for candidates to deliver the nominations from five football associations.
The Bahraini, who is closely allied with Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, one of the most powerful men in international sports politics and a key figure in the Olympic movement, had canvassed opinion from Asian football associations last week.
Sheikh Salman had initially backed Michel Platini, the Uefa president. But the Frenchman's troubles, which originated with a 2011 payment of two million Swiss francs (S$2.9 million) from Blatter's Fifa for work done nine years earlier, have dramatically changed the electoral landscape.
Earlier this month, Platini was handed a 90-day provisional ban from football by Fifa's Ethics Committee - a decision which has quickly led to his support dissipating.
Platini has appealed the ban and could yet be let back into the race for the Feb 26 vote if he is successful in overturning the judgment.
Sheikh Salman will face another member of Arab royalty in the election, with Jordanian Prince Ali Al Hussein having already submitted his nomination.
On Saturday, South African former apartheid-era political prisoner-turned-businessman Tokyo Sexwale announced he would be standing in the election, after winning backing from the South African Football Association.
Former Trinidad and Tobago midfielder David Nakhid says he has submitted his papers to Fifa, along with former Fifa deputy general secretary Jerome Champagne and Platini.
Zico, the former Brazilian World Cup player, has said he wants to stand, but it is not known if he has been able to receive the necessary support.