FIFA will not change the date of the 2016 presidential election amid concerns that the recent suspensions of multiple declared candidates would prompt the governing body to do so.
The FIFA Executive Committee announced in a press release that it had confirmed Feb. 26, 2016, as the date for the election at its extraordinary session in Zurich on Tuesday.
The stability of that date came under question by presidential candidate Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan last week after UEFA president and rival candidate Michel Platini was suspended 90 days by FIFA’s ethics committee.
Platini has already submitted his candidacy, but may be declared ineligible due to the investigation of a $2 million payment that he received from FIFA for work that he claims was carried out at least nine years earlier.
Platini is the second potential candidate that has been suspended, after South Korea’s Chung Mong-joon was banned by the ethics committee for six years on Oct. 8.
While candidates have until Oct. 26 to submit their bids for candidacy, submissions of those facing bans will not be processed until those suspensions are completed.
Along with the announcement of the election date, the FIFA reform committee recommended setting term limits (12 years) and age limits (74) for the FIFA president.
Prince Ali, who lost the 2015 presidential election to suspended former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, is expected to be the front runner in 2016. Former Trinidad and Tobago player David Nakhid is the only other member to submit their bid so far.
Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has also indicated that he has been pushed to run, and is seeking advice from his colleagues before making a decision.
- Alex Nieves