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FIFA presidential candidates: Who are they and what do they offer?

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti and Jeremy Schaap weigh in on Gianni Infantino's appointment as the new president of FIFA.

With FIFA's presidential election one month away, Gabriele Marcotti gives an overview of the five candidates.

Prince Ali
Prince Ali secured more than a third of the vote when he ran for FIFA president against Sepp Blatter in May.

Name: Prince Ali bin Al Hussein
Nationality: Jordanian
Age: 40
Background: Son of the former King of Jordan, who died in 1999, and half-brother of the current King. President of the Jordan Football Association.
Highest office held in football: Vice president of FIFA representing Asia (2011 to 2015).
Fun fact: He was a paratrooper in the Jordanian army as well as president of Jordan's film commission.
Biggest selling points: He received more than a third of the votes when he ran against Sepp Blatter last year, he's been very open and forthright with his manifesto and he's entirely untouched by scandal.
Weak spot: He's only 40 and you can't help but feel that he got many of his jobs by virtue of who his dad is. Four years as a FIFA vice president isn't an extensive resume either.
Best idea: He'll publish the Garcia report in full and make FIFA more transparent.
Where he stands on expanding the World Cup: He's in favour.
Manifesto: "My Vision for FIFA and Football"


Jerome Champagne
Will Jerome Champagne's years of service under Sepp Blatter hurt his chances to take over the FIFA presidency?

Name: Jerome Champagne
Nationality: French
Age: 57
Background: A former French diplomat, he moved into football working on the 1998 World Cup and spent 11 years working at FIFA under Sepp Blatter.
Highest office held in football: FIFA director of international relations.
Fun fact: His candidacy has been endorsed by both Pele and Robbie Keane.
Biggest selling points: His diplomatic background has been instrumental in helping him take on difficult diplomatic situations, such as the relationship between the Israeli and Palestinian football associations and the Kosovo FA's quest for FIFA recognition. He is also very close to a number of African FAs.
Weak spot: Those 11 years working for Blatter don't help in the eyes of some (although, conversely, they are key to others). Has failed to get much traction with the media.
Best idea: He wants to introduce global collective bargaining for all professional footballers, as well as giving seats on the Executive Committee to FIFPro and representatives of leagues and clubs.
Where he stands on expanding the World Cup: He's against it (in fact, he thinks it's already difficult to organise one with 32 teams).
Manifesto: "My Agenda for the 21st-Century FIFA"

FIFA ELECTION COVERAGE ON ESPN

- Feb. 22-26, 1:30 p.m. ET (ESPN): Outside the Lines
- Feb. 23-26; 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2): ESPN FC

- Feb. 26, 7 a.m. ET (ESPN2): SportsCenter
- LIVE on ESPN3: Feb. 26, from 2 a.m. ET


Gianni Infantino
Gianni Infantino has overseen UEFA's day-to-day operations during a commercial boom period for the confederation.

Name: Gianni Infantino
Nationality: Swiss/Italian
Age: 45
Background: He's a lawyer and sports administrator who joined UEFA in 2000 and rose through the ranks.
Highest office held in football: UEFA general secretary.
Fun fact: He was born in the Swiss Alpine town of Brig, which is around six miles away from the birthplace of one Joseph S. Blatter.
Biggest selling point: He basically ran UEFA day-to-day during its commercial boom and did so while keeping stakeholders mostly happy and the organisation free of corruption. He drove the FIFA reforms that were approved by the Executive Committee recently, suggesting he knows his way around diplomatically.
Weak spot: He's in the race because of Michel Platini's ban and, before it became permanent, he'd said he'd drop out if it was overturned. That raises questions about how motivated he really is.
Best idea: His package of FIFA reforms may not be perfect, but they're a lot better in terms of accountability, diversity and transparency than what we have now. A lot of his granular proposals about good governance, particularly when it comes to commercial tenders and World Cup bidding, might sound boring, but are critical for the integrity of the organisation.
Where he stands on expanding the World Cup: He's in favour.
Manifesto: "Taking Football Forward"


Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa
Sheikh Salman has overseen a boom in Asian football, but will accusations against his character hurt his campaign?

Name: Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa
Nationality: Bahraini
Age: 50
Background: A member of Bahrain's royal family, he has held a number of posts with the Bahrain Football Association, becoming its president in 2002, aged 36.
Highest office held in football: President of the Asian Football Confederation.
Fun fact: He reportedly enjoys hunting wild boar.
Biggest selling point: From women's football to commercial development, Asia has been making strides under his leadership. A deal maker, he knows how to build consensus.
Weak spot: Accused of being directly involved in the repression of dissidents during anti-government protests in Bahrain. Also accused of quashing an audit of the AFC in 2012 because it suggested that the organisation had been used to launder money. His mentor, Sheikh Ahmed of Kuwait, is under pressure and his power is on the wane.
Best idea: Wants to split FIFA between "Business FIFA" (responsible for the commercial side) and "Football FIFA" (responsible for organising tournaments). Open to a "60-minute rule" with clock stopping each time play is whistled dead to help combat play-acting and time-wasting.
Where he stands on expanding the World Cup: He is noncommittal but has asked for the issue to be analysed by stakeholders with a view toward 2026.
Manifesto: "World Football Refined, Restructured, Revitalised"


Tokyo Sexwale
Tokyo Sexwale has a proven track record with FIFA and politics.

Name: Tokyo Sexwale
Nationality: South African
Age: 62
Background: An anti-apartheid campaigner, he was imprisoned at Robben Island with Nelson Mandela for 13 years. He later became a government minister and a very successful businessman with interests in diamond and platinum mines.
Highest office held in football: Member of various FIFA committees, including the FIFA Committee on Racism and Discrimination.
Fun fact: He hosted the South African version of "The Apprentice."
Biggest selling point: He's hugely connected and has a proven track record in business and politics. He's easily the most charismatic candidate and is likely to enjoy plenty of support from developing nations.
Weak spot: Long association with Blatter won't help him in some quarters (although it will in others). His manifesto seemed to be a rush job and was littered with spelling mistakes and factual errors.
Best idea: Wants to sell shirt sponsorship on national-team jerseys to raise revenue and set up an international advisory forum, to act as a kind of FIFA Ombudsman.
Where he stands on expanding the World Cup: He's in favour.
Manifesto: "Tokyo Sexwale: Candidate Manifesto"

Gabriele Marcotti is a columnist for ESPN FC, The Times and Corriere dello Sport. Follow him on Twitter @Marcotti.

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