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FIFA Congress fails to elect new president in first round of voting

February 26, 18:39 UTC+3 ZURICH
A total of five candidates were initially running for the post of the FIFA presidency, however, minutes before the election one of the candidates announced the decision to withdraw his candidacy
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© EPA/PATRICK B. KRAEMER

ZURICH, February 26. /TASS/. The 2016 Extraordinary FIFA Congress in Zurich had no success in electing its new president in the first round of the voting, as none of the four candidates received the two-thirds of the votes necessary to win after the first ballot.

With 207 eligible member associations of FIFA taking part in the vote (football associations of Kuwait and Indonesia are currently suspended and are not participating in the voting) the four candidates received the following results after the first ballot:

· UEFA Secretary General Gianni Infantino — 88 votes

· President of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa — 85 votes

· FIFA Vice President and Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein — 27 votes

· Former-FIFA Secretary General Jerome Champagne — 7 votes

FIFA member associations convened in Zurich on Friday for its extraordinary Congress with the main aim of electing the organization’s new president and vote on the landmark reformations to the organization.

The voting procedure to determine the new president is enshrined by FIFA regulations and is as follows: "For the election of the FIFA President, two-thirds of the votes of the FIFA members present and eligible to vote are necessary in the first ballot. In the second and any other requisite ballot, a simple majority (more than 50%) of the valid votes cast is sufficient."

"If there are more than two candidates for the office of FIFA President, whoever obtains the lowest number of votes is eliminated as from the second ballot until only two candidates are left… If there is only one candidate, a simple majority (more than 50%) of the he valid votes cast is sufficient in the first ballot."

A total of five candidates were initially running for the post of the FIFA presidency. However, minutes before the election of the new FIFA president, one of the candidates announced the decision to withdraw his candidacy.

Each of the five candidates were granted 15 minutes to make their final speeches before the ballots started South Africa’s ex-Minister of Housing Construction Tokyo Sexwale, who was the last to address the representatives of FIFA member associations, said he hoped that the organization would elect the leader, who would reinstate trust in FIFA and return it back to its original basics. Then he announced his decision not to run for the FIFA presidential post.

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.

Currently suspended FIFA President Sepp 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 on February 26, 2016.

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