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FIFA presidential voting to be two member associations short — Russian sports minister

February 24, 17:16 UTC+3 ZURICH
Two member associations - Kuwait and Indonesia - were earlier suspended
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Russia's sports minister Vitaly Mutko

Russia's sports minister Vitaly Mutko

© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

ZURICH, February 24. /TASS/. Vitaly Mutko, a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, told TASS on Wednesday that 207 instead of a total of 209 member associations of the world’s governing body of football will be voting in FIFA presidential election on Friday.

"Two member associations were suspended earlier and they are Kuwait and Indonesia," Mutko, who is also the sports minister of Russia, said in an interview with TASS after a session of the FIFA Executive Committee on Wednesday.

The Kuwait Football Association (KFA) was suspended by FIFA in mid-October after establishing that the government was interfering into KFA affairs. The Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) was suspended by FIFA on May 30, 2015 following a conflict between the Sports Ministry of Indonesia and the country’s football federation.

Issues concerning the restoration of KFA and PSSI membership are on the agenda of this year’s FIFA Congress, scheduled to be held in Mexico on March 12-13.

This Friday, FIFA convenes in Switzerland’s Zurich for its extraordinary Congress with the main aim of electing the organization’s new president.

The five currently running candidates for the post of the FIFA presidency 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.

FIFA presidential candidates unlikely to join efforts

Candidates running for the post of the FIFA president are highly unlikely to join their efforts before Friday’s voting for the new head of the world’s governing body of football, Vitaly Mutko, a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, told TASS on Wednesday.

"The most important is to prevent the split-up," Mutko, who is also the sports minister of Russia, said in an interview with TASS after a session of the FIFA Executive Committee on Wednesday.

"[UEFA Secretary General Gianni] Infantino and [President of the Asian Football Confederation] Sheikh Salman [bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa] failed to come to terms," Mutko said. "In my opinion, they should have come to an agreement. We have been supporting this idea in every possible way."

"If someone loses the election by 5-10 votes and decides not to give up, than nothing good will come out of it," Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), said. "I was out and about today and discovered that the candidates are very unlikely to join their efforts before the election."

FIFA corruption scandal

A chain of corruption scandals rocked FIFA throughout last year. Everything flared up with an unprecedented scandal on the morning of May 27, 2015, 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, 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.

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