Fifa president election 2015: A guide to the challengers to Sepp Blatter's throne

Joe Hall
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Tomorrow night, at 11pm, football fans around the world will discover the official candidates in the running to be the next Fifa president. Current incumbent Sepp Blatter's popularity has plummeted, and huge numbers of football fans are crying out for a saviour to rescue football's governing body from its current nadir.

Five candidates have put themselves forward for the role but all need to have nominations from at least five member nations by the deadline tomorrow night. Following that, the first round ballot could elect the next president should a candidate win two-thirds of the vote, while subsequent rounds are won by a simple majority.

Here's a rundown of the names in the frame, and their chances of winning:

Sepp Blatter

Who? Come on, you surely don't need an introduction to arguably the most controversial figure in world football. Under Blatter's leadership Fifa has been involved in a slew of scandals, with continued allegations of corruption dragging the governing body's reputation into the mud.
The next two World Cups have been awarded to countries with questionable human rights records. Fifa executives have been accused of being paid off. The 78-year-old himself has made a number of gaffes that have led to accusations of a nonchalant attitude to sexism and homophobia. He signed off on a £19m feature film about Fifa which featured himself as the hero.
And he's probably going to get re-elected.
Blatter enjoys huge supports from of the traditionally "smaller" member nations in the Asia, Africa and South America confederations who have all been well served by the Swiss during his four terms in office and have signalled their intention to back him again.
In his own words:
Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts.
Female players are pretty, if you excuse me for saying so, and they already have some different rules to men - such as playing with a lighter ball.
That decision was taken to create a more female aesthetic, so why not do it in fashion? (On women's football in 2004)
Chances of winning: Very high. Blatter has a vice-like grip on global football power and it well take some doing before he lets go.

Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein

Who? Regarded as the first credible challenger to Blatter's throne when he announced his candidacy earlier this month, Prince Ali has all the credentials required. He has already served as Fifa vice president for four years and has been head of the Jordanian Football Association since 1999.
The Jordanian royal has the backing of the FA in tow, and will surely have at least four more nominations to make up the five he needs to run. Uefa president Michel Platini said Prince Ali has "all the credibility required to hold office."
In his own words:
All I care about is the sport and not the politics. I’m not there to show myself or to have a position, I’m all about the work.
...I think that as with any organisation we need to evolve. It’s not just a matter of saying that financially we’re ok and that everything’s fine. No. I think that there’s a lot of work that can be done and needs to be done, and I’m committed to doing it. (on the future of Fifa in an interview with Soccerex Pro magazine)
Chances of winning: Prince Ali is in with a strong shout, but will need to win over the support of associations from outside Europe - particularly in his own Asia confederation - if he is to topple Blatter.

Michael van Praag

Who? Good question. Van Praag is a relative unknown in comparison to some of the other candidates, especially on these shores. Nevertheless, the president of the Dutch Football Association could be an outside bet to take the top job.

The 67-year-old says he has sent six nominations to Fifa - named as Belgium, Sweden, Scotland, Romania, the Faroe Islands and the Netherlands.

In his own words:

Everyone expects the small team to lose but sometimes they win.

This is because I want to make room for a new generation as quickly as possible because I want to make full use of my time in office and not waste any time on a possible re-election.

Chances of winning: Almost as slim as Bradford beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge...

Luis Figo

Who? The dark horse, making his play right at the very last moment. One of the greatest players of his generation, the former Barcelona, Real Madrid and Portugal winger revealed he is standing for the presidency with just one day to go before the deadline.

Figo is believed to already have the minimum requirement of five nominations ahead of Thursday's deadline. Like Prince Ali and van Praag, Figo is expected to be drawing most of his support from within Uefa, having acted as ambassador for the group in the past.

The fact that three Uefa-backed candidates are standing has sparked speculation that Uefa is planning a co-ordinated attempt to draw enough votes away from Blatter to thwart him gaining the two-thirds majority that would see him win from the first round of voting, before forming a united front under one candidate. Van Praag, for his part, has poured cold water on this suggestion.

In his own words:

If you search Fifa on the internet you see the first word that comes out: scandal, not positive words. It's that we have to change first and try to improve the image of Fifa.

Football deserves much better than this.

Chances of winning: Hard to say at this early stage, but if Uefa really is plotting to draw votes away from Blatter by offering a number of multitude of other candidates, Figo's worldwide popularity and history in the game could see him pushed to the fore.

Jérôme Champagne

Who? Jérôme Champagne served on the Fifa executive committee for 11 years from 1999 to 2010 and was actually the first candidate to announce his interest in the role over a year ago.
Yet the cork in Champagne's campaign just hasn't popped, and it still remains to be seen if the 56-year-old Frenchman will receive enough nominations to stand.
In his own words:
I do not yet have all the five letters. The feeling exists that the final result of the election is set, and that it would be risky to sign them. There is also the fear of being singled out and punished. (Champagne on the health of his campaign earlier this month)
Chances of winning: Minimal.

David Ginola

Who? Former Newcastle, Spurs, Aston Villa and Everton winger/L'Oreal model has put his name forward...and largely been laughed out of the room. The retired French winger has made plenty of nice noises about wanting to fix Fifa, but his credibility has somewhat crumbled since it was revealed his campaign is being backed by Paddy Power. The bookmaker is paying him £250,000 to stand for president.

Then there's the issue that candidates must have an "active role" within football. Ginola is ticking that box with his work "mainly over the phone" for French third tier side Étoile Fréjus.

Furthermore, Fifa has explicitly stated that candidates “shall be forbidden from taking part in, either directly or indirectly, or otherwise being associated with betting, gambling." Ah.

In his own words:

I’m a firm believer that too much of anything is never a good thing. A regular stream of fresh ideas and new thinking will be just as important as passion and expertise in FIFA’s journey to becoming a truly 21st century governing body that the world of football can be proud of.

Chances of winning: There are none.

*All picture credit: Getty Images

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