The next Fifa president? Three potential obstacles for Sheikh Salman al-Khalifa in his bid to replace Sepp Blatter

 
Joe Hall
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Fifa president candidate Sheikh Salman
Sheikh Salman has been a member of Fifa's executive committee since 2013

With Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini currently serving 90-day suspensions from football, a new candidate is set to stake his claim for the Fifa throne - Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa.

According to reports, the member of the Bahrain royal family is set on replacing the outgoing Blatter as president of Fifa after receiving support from numerous football associations around the world.

The Fifa executive committee member and current president of the Asian Football Confederation will stand against Uefa boss Platini and Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, who formally submitted his presidency bid last week.

Read more: Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein - Everything you need to know

Fifa has been sullied by unrelenting allegations of corruption, arrests of its top officials and - most recently - the suspension of Blatter and Platini after a contentious £1.35m payment between the two was uncovered by the Swiss attorney general last month.

But is Sheikh Salman really the reform candidate Fifa needs in order to repair its image? There are three issues he must first address.

Winter World Cup support

Sheikh Salman headed up the efforts to negotiate winter dates for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar - an unpopular move among members of the European Club Association (ECA), which represents Europe's most powerful and well-connected clubs.

Alleged human rights abuses

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has suggested the 49-year-old royal is alleged to have been complicit in the arrest of more than 150 athletes, coaches and referees for taking part in pro-democracy protests in 2011, while he was chairman of the Bahrain Football Association - but he has always denied any wrongdoing.

Ties to Blatter

Many stakeholders in Fifa, including commercial sponsors such as Visa, McDonald's and Coca-Cola, believe the organisation needs an independent body directing an overhaul and could be sceptical of any figure who worked under Blatter.

Visa said Blatter's intention to resign signalled Fifa's need of "extensive and fundamental" reform. Sheikh Salman may need to demonstrate distance between himself and the current incumbent's regime in order to win over wide support.

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