FIFA Football body delays presidential election

Two sources with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters that a postponement of the election was being discussed within FIFA and its member organisations.

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A cameraman stands in front of FIFA's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland October 8, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann play A cameraman stands in front of FIFA's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland October 8, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
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FIFA is discussing delaying the election for their next president following the suspensions of Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, two sources told Reuters, as soccer's governing body called an emergency meeting on the crisis.

A delay to the election could make it easier for UEFA president Michel Platini to be a candidate to replace the departing Blatter -- if Platini succeeds in an appeal against his ban from the game.

England's Football Association, which has supported Platini's candidature, said on Friday it was among those making the call for a crisis meeting of FIFA's executive where the election would be discussed.

That request was heeded when FIFA later announced that an extraordinary executive committee meeting would be held on Oct. 20th at their headquarters in Zurich.

FIFA did not say if the timing of the election would be on the agenda but the executive committee is the only body that can make the decision to postpone the vote, scheduled for Feb. 26.

Two sources with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters that a postponement of the election was being discussed within FIFA and its member organisations.

"For the time being the schedule is as it is," a FIFA spokesperson told Reuters, adding that she did not wish to speculate on the issue.

UEFA's 54 member associations are gathering on Thursday at their headquarters in Nyon where the election will also be on the agenda, the spokesman from England's FA said.

Platini was an early favourite to win the vote to replace Blatter at the helm of FIFA before he was given the 90-day ban by FIFA's Ethics Committee on Thursday. A further 45 days can be added to the provisional ban.

As it stands, the election nominations need to be provided by Oct. 26 and prospective candidates need to pass an integrity check based on FIFA's Ethics code.

Unless he were to be given a swift appeal victory, Platini, who delivered his nomination papers just hours before his ban, would find himself in the very tricky position of trying to pass that test while banned from the game.

But a change in the date of the vote could see the entire timetable of the election change providing potentially more opportunity for Platini -- or any other candidates who might want to enter the race once the ethics situation is clearer.

Another presidential candidate, South Korea's Chung Mong-joon, was banned for six years, meaning he will almost certainly miss out.

Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan is the only remaining high-profile candidate along with outsider, former Brazil international Zico.

Platini's ban relates to a 2 million Swiss francs payment he received from FIFA in 2011, which is part of a Swiss criminal inquiry into Blatter.

Switzerland's Attorney General said Platini is being considered somewhere "between a witness and an accused person" in the case. Both Platini and Blatter deny they have done anything wrong and are appealling the suspensions.

Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan said he would prefer to stick with the February date depending on the outcome of the appeals process against the bans.

Dutch FA (KNVB) executive director Bert van Oostveen said he was uncertain of the best way forward but wanted European federations to remain together on the issue.

But Karl-Erik Nilsson, chair of the Swedish Football Association (SvFF), told Reuters the date should not change.

"We want the election to be held on Feb. 26 as planned. Together with many European countries, we supported Michel Platini's candidacy and we need more information about exactly what has happened.

Support for Platini could be damaged by the ban against him and the Belgian Football Assocation said it wanted more clarity about the situation.

"A few weeks ago the Belgian Football Association expressed its support for Michel Platini to create a new, clean and transparent FIFA through his candidature. The suspension of Michel Platini is, however, a new element in this file," they said in s atatement.

"The Belgian Football Association calls for complete transparency and clarity with regards to the reasons for the suspensions. After internal consultation with other associations we will make our official position known.

"It is obvious we won't support anyone proven guilty of fraud.”

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