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FIFA presidency: Who are the main candidates to succeed Sepp Blatter at football's governing body?

Last Friday, the FIFA presidency appeared settled for another four years, with Sepp Blatter overcoming opposition to win a fifth four-year term.
Four short days later, however, the football world was stunned as Blatter convened a press conference to say he was resigning from the post, with his decision to take effect once his successor is chosen at a special FIFA Congress to be held sometime between December 2015 and March 2016.
So who are the people in line to replace the Swiss powerbroker?
There were four original challengers to Blatter in the election just past - but only one remained in the race to bring the contest to a vote.
Now, however, the game has changed.
With Blatter not standing, the field is likely to open up as those with ambition see their chance for a clean run at the FIFA presidency.

Prince Ali bin al-Hussein

"It is time to shift the focus away from administrative controversy and back to sport. The headlines should be about football, not about FIFA," Prince Ali said when announcing his bid for the presidency early this year.
His campaign manifesto included a promise to expand the World Cup to 36 teams, providing extra places for Asia, Africa and CONCACAF (American and Caribbean) federations, plus an increase in South America and Oceania from four and a half places and half a place to five and one respectively.
As the sole remaining challenger, he polled 73 votes to Blatter's 133.
"I have to talk to national associations and see how they feel about this, as it's very early," he told CNN when asked whether he would run again. "But if they want me to do it, I will do it."
It remains unclear, however, how solid his support would be given the likelihood of other candidates throwing their hats in the ring.

Issa Hayatou

As a bloc, Africa has the most votes in a FIFA presidential election with 54. As a result Issa Hayatou, the Cameroonian president of the Confederation of African Football since 1988, is one of the main powerbrokers in world football.
Before turning to sports administration, he had an international career representing Cameroon in basketball and athletics.
He is also a member of the International Olympic Committee, and he has been on FIFA's powerful executive committee since 1990.
Hayatou challenged Blatter for the presidency in 2002 and lost, but subsequently became closely linked with his rival and African support has been critical in maintaining Blatter's hold on the top job.
Hayatou is likely to have a big hand in selecting the next president, but at 79, he may find it hard to convince voters if there is a move for generational change after Blatter's 17 years in charge.

Luis Figo

A hero of Portuguese football, in a glittering career Luis Figo played in three European Championships and two World Cups for his country, and at club level he played on both sides of the Clasico rivalry with Barcelona and Real Madrid.
When he announced his campaign to unseat Blatter, Figo received support from famous figures like former Manchester United and England star David Beckham and Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho, but he lacked numbers from the national associations who decide the election.
Despite a well-received campaign, the 40-year-old Figo withdrew from the contest a few days out in a statement fiercely criticising the process.
"This (election) process is a plebiscite for the delivery of absolute power to one man - something I refuse to go along with," he said.
"I believe that what is going to happen on May 29 in Zurich is not a normal electoral act. And because it is not, don't count on me."
Perhaps the national associations will be more open to a second run at the top job from Figo, but he will need to change plenty of minds to get the nod.

Michel Platini

Another famous attacking midfielder, Michel Platini won the 1984 European Championship title with France and the 1985 European Cup with Juventus.
He took over the leadership of Europe's governing body, UEFA, in 2007 by beating the incumbent Lennart Johannsen of Sweden in a close vote and in the eight years since he has built a strong profile as one of the most powerful men in the world game.
Platini has been a vocal critic of Blatter's leadership in recent years, and many thought he would challenge for the presidency in 2015, but last year he announced his decisioon not to run, saying: "Now is not my time, not yet."
Today's resignation may have brought the Frenchman the opening he was looking for, but if Blatter's powerbase in Africa and Asia holds strong, Platini's position in UEFA is likely to work against him.
Platini was also a declared supporter of Qatar's controversial successful bid for the 2022 World Cup. If the mood is for taking the Cup off Qatar, this could be a problem for his candidacy.
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