FIFA : Gianni Infantino narrowly edges Sheik Salman,round two of voting on

FIFA : Gianni Infantino narrowly edges Sheik Salman,round two of voting on

Voting for the new FIFA president will go into a second round after Gianni Infantino and Sheik Salman failed to secure a two-thirds majority.

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But UEFA general secretary Infantino narrowly edged Salman in the voting with 88 votes to 85.

Prince Ali received 27 and Jerome Champagne seven. To win in the second round, a candidate must reach 104 votes.

Also Read : Gianni Infantino the new FIFA President

Ahead of Friday’s presidential election, FIFA voted in favour of reforms designed to repair its image and guard against future misdemeanours after the worst crisis in its near-112 history.

Also Read: Sexwale pulls out of FIFA race

The reforms, voted on at FIFA’s extraordinary congress in Zurich, address issues of governance, accountability, transparency and diversity.

Meanwhile, Tokyo Sexwale received a standing ovation after ending his bid to be FIFA president in his final opportunity to address the extraordinary congress.

The 62-year-old South African was the last of five candidates to address the 207 voting members who will decide on the successor to Sepp Blatter.

His charisma was on full show in the 15-minute speech, which he ended by announcing he would not take part in the ballot.

Sexwale said: ‘My campaign ends today and I suspend my participation. I leave only four people.’

There were 207 eligible votes (Kuwait and Indonesia are suspended) and 201 votes were cast on the reforms, with 89 per cent (179 votes) in favour.

A reforms committee was established after widespread corruption was exposed, leading to the dethroning of Sepp Blatter and implicating many members of football’s world governing body.

Acting president Issa Hayatou had spoken of the importance of the reforms in the lead up to Friday’s extraordinary congress, where a first new president of the world governing body since 1998 was set to be named.

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke on Thursday said the adoption of the reforms was more important than who was voted in as Blatter’s successor.

Francois Carrard, chairman of 2016 reform committee, spoke of the importance of adopting the reforms in full.

But Gonzalo Boye Tuset of the Palestine Football Association called for a delay, saying FIFA needed ‘revolution not evolution’, effectively saying the reforms did not go far enough.

Gonzalo Boye Tuset said: ‘During a storm is not the best moment to refurbish the vote. We should wait until things calm down.’

The vote went ahead, though, with the required 50 per cent turnout. And the required 75 per cent in favour was exceeded after acting secretary general Markus Kattner, the interim successor to the sacked Jerome Valcke, reminded delegates of the importance of the reforms seconds before instructing them to vote.

The reforms separate political power and management functions, abolishing the 24-seat FIFA executive committee in favour of a 36-seat FIFA council.

At least six members of the council – one per confederation – must be female, while no member will be allowed to serve more than three four-year terms. Salaries will also be disclosed.

There will be greater independence – judicial bodies will in future be completely independent – and stringent integrity checks. And the number of committees will be reduced from 26 to nine in a bid to increase efficiency.

FIFA’s 209 member associations, including the Football Association, and the six continental confederations, like UEFA, will be expected to adopt the reforms in due course.

Blatter was voted in on five occasions, including last May. But he stepped aside days later amid allegations which led to a six-year ban from football-related activity, which he is contesting.

His resignation prompted the world governing body’s extraordinary congress in the most pivotal period of FIFA’s 112-year history.

The successful candidate will serve the remaining term of office for which Blatter was elected last May, meaning there will be a further election in 2019.

Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al Hussein, Sheik Salman bin Ibrahim al Khalifa of Bahrain, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino, and Jerome Champagne, a former FIFA deputy secretary general from France, were the remaining candidates as the first round of voting, estimated to take one hour, 40 minutes began.

A two-thirds majority (138 votes) was required for a result in the first round, with a simple majority (more than 50 per cent) needed in subsequent rounds.

Sexwale’s chances of success were slim, ever since his home confederation, the Confederation of African Football, announced its intention to back Sheik Salman. Infantino and Prince Ali also expect to have support from the region.

His was a low-profile campaign, in contrast to some of his rivals, although he took Infantino to Robben Island earlier this week, sparking suggestions of an alliance.

Sexwale is a former anti-apartheid activist who was imprisoned on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela.

The mining magnate was part of the organising committee for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

He said there would be a ‘party’ if any of his four rivals was elected and ‘a bigger party’ if he was chosen in a speech which concluded with him vowing to support FIFA’s first new president since 1998.

‘I am prepared to serve under the next president,’ he added.

He then expressed a wish for the future of FIFA.

‘One day I hope the president will be a woman. I believe in unity, the Mandela way,’ he said.

He had earlier pointedly referred to the controversy surrounding the awards of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and 2022 tournament to Qatar.

He said: ‘I don’t think two World Cups should be awarded at the same time. That’s what brought us here.’

Source : Daily Mail