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PARIS, February 10. /TASS/. President of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, who is one of the five candidates running for the FIFA presidential post, told TASS that Russia would assume a greater role in the world of football in case he won the election this month.
"Russia is a country you can always rely on," he said in an interview with TASS. "And I hope that, if I'm elected of course, it is very important that Russia plays a very important role in football and football politics to have a good balance on how this organization should run.·"
The five currently running candidates for the post of the FIFA presidency on February 26 are: South Africa’s ex-Minister of Housing Construction Tokyo Sexwale, UEFA Secretary General Gianni Infantino, FIFA Vice President and Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, former-FIFA Secretary General Jerome Champagne and President of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.
Switzerland’s Zurich is set to host on February 26 an extraordinary FIFA Congress with the main aim of electing the new president of the world’s governing body of football.
A chain of corruption scandals rocked FIFA throughout last year. Everything flared up within an unprecedented scandal on the morning of May 27, one day before the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, where seven of the organization’s high-ranking officials were arrested in Switzerland on bribery, money laundering and corruption charges.
In the most recent development of events, the previously suspended FIFA and UEFA presidents, Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini respectively, were both banned on December 21 for eight years by FIFA's Ethics Committee from all international football activities over allegedly illegal financial transfer from FIFA to Platini.
Blatter, 79, was reelected for his fifth consecutive four-year presidential term on May 29 last year, when his only rival Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan pulled out after the first round of vote.
However, addressing a news conference in Zurich on June 2, Blatter said he decided to lay down his mandate at FIFA extraordinary elective Congress. FIFA announced in July that the election of the new president would be held next year on February 26, 2016.