FIFA head Sepp Blatter has met with his vice presidents to fix the date to elect his successor. Some would like that date to come sooner rather than later.
Blatter hosted Michel Platini, President of European football’s presiding body UEFA, as well as the other continental and regional football federation chiefs for the talks Sunday night.
The group – gathering ahead of a Monday meeting of FIFA’s Executive Committee – were said to have discussed the date of a FIFA extraordinary congress, where the next president is to be elected. However, sources would not say if there had been agreement on the timing.
None of the regional candidates have put themselves forward as a candidate for the presidency, although Platini is believed to be considering a run.
Many national football federation chiefs from within Europe, including the president of the German Football Federation, Wolfgang Niersbach, are known to prefer an election date this year.
Blatter hopes to delay the election to early 2016 – possibly as late as March – which would give him the opportunity to hold on to power and prepare his reforms for as long as possible.
Deepening corruption crisis
The 79-year-old Swiss is expected to announce some of his ideas for reforms at Monday’s Executive Committee meeting. The pressure for him to make changes comes as world football’s governing body reels from a deepening corruption crisis.
Sunday’s meeting came a day after FIFA Vice President Jeffrey Webb appeared in a New York court, where he pleaded not guilty to accepting bribes. He was released on $10 million (9.2 million euros) bail.
Webb, who agreed to be extradited to the US amid an FBI investigation, was among several senior FIFA officials arrested on May 27, with the others fighting transfer by Swiss authorities to the US.
At a previous meeting of the president’s group a day after the officials were arrested in Zurich, Platini urged Blatter – his teacher-turned-adversary – to resign.
Blatter refused to leave and was re-elected the next day, but within days was forced to promise to leave office amid the pressure of US and Swiss federal investigations of corruption implicating FIFA.