FIFA presidential election - Gianni Infantino elected after second round
Need to know:
- After the second round of voting ended, Gianni Infantino has been elected the new president of FIFA. He received 115 votes, which is 11 more than the 50 percent majority required for victory. Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa received 88, while Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein received only four and Jerome Champagne zero.
- Infantino won 88 votes in the first round, just ahead of Sheikh Salman with 85, while Prince Ali received only 25 and Jerome Champagne received seven. In the second round, candidates need a simple majority of over 50 percent to win the election.
- Tokyo Sexwale withdrew from the race before voting commenced, leaving just four candidates in contention to replace Sepp Blatter as FIFA president.
- FIFA Congress earlier approved the reform package, with 89 percent of those taking part voting in favour.
17.12 GMT: The most powerful man in world football makes his acceptance speech:
17.10 GMT: ESPN FC's Vivek Chaudhary reports from Zurich: Asian football official who voted in Zurich tells ESPN FC: "We were let down by Africa. They did not vote as a bloc as they had promised. This is a very sad day for Asian football but we remain committed to what FIFA stands for."
17.09 GMT: ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti: Infantino sets bar high: "We will restore image of FIFA + everyone will applaud us!"
17.07 GMT: In his acceptance speech, Infantino makes a pledge: "FIFA has gone through sad times, times of crisis. Those times are over. We will restore the image of FIFA."
17.00 GMT: BREAKING Gianni Infantino is the new FIFA president.
Results of 2nd ballot: 4 votes for Prince Ali; 88 votes for Shk. Salman; 0 votes for Jérôme Champagne; 115 votes for Gianni Infantino.- FIFA Media (@fifamedia) February 26, 2016
16.58 GMT: Could there be an outright victor after the second round?
Obviously the key is where Ali voters switch. I'm told that many have gone to Infantino. In fact, could be enough to win here. Needs 104.- Sam Borden (@SamBorden) February 26, 2016
16.45 GMT: The "scrutineers" have begun to count...
16:40 GMT: As Zimbabwe is called once again, voting in the second ballot is about to be completed.
16:30 GMT: Infantino still doing his work as the voting continues.
Infantino is making his way through the room and alphabet and is posing for selfies and shaking hands, while wearing a beaming smile- Matt McGeehan (@mattmcgeehan) February 26, 2016
16:19 GMT: From the Associated Press:
A soccer feud between a sheikh and prince has become an intriguing factor in the FIFA presidential election.
There is bad blood between Sheikh Salman of Bahrain and Prince Ali of Jordan, who finished a close second and a distant third behind Gianni Infantino in Friday's first round of voting.
Infantino received 88 votes, while Sheikh Salman got 85 and Prince Ali got 27.
With Ali likely having received his votes from all over -- including pledges from the United States and Australia -- it's not definite that his supporters will just transfer to another Asian candidate closer to victory.
Also, Ali had pledged voters such as Iraq who would be more natural supporters for Asian soccer confederation president Sheikh Salman.
Prince Ali has aimed barbs this month over the sheikh's alleged failure to protect Bahrain national team players who say they were tortured after taking part in Arab Spring pro-democracy protests in 2011.
The royal dispute partly stems from Ali being maneuvered out of his FIFA vice presidency for Asia last year by a change in rules steered through at the 2014 World Cup by Sheikh Salman.
16:12 GMT: The race is far from run, however -- Infantino beat Sheikh Salman by just three votes, and there are no guarantees going into the second round.
Where will Ali/Champagne votes end up? Impossible to say - candidates don't command their voters. This is a proper election.- Simon Evans (@sgevans) February 26, 2016
16:09 GMT: Infantino is making plans.
If Gianni wins, he has promised his first day at president will be a football match at Fifa HQ.- Ben Rumsby (@ben_rumsby) February 26, 2016
15:44 GMT: Infantino sitting pretty.
No sleep 'til Gianni!!! #FIFAelection- Alexi Lalas (@AlexiLalas) February 26, 2016
15:42 GMT: It's not looking good for Sheikh Salman, who had been the favourite earlier in the day.
Ali's team working on trying to keep Salman out, which could well mean Gianni getting the 16 more votes he needs for victory.- Ben Rumsby (@ben_rumsby) February 26, 2016
15:33 GMT: It's been quite some time since there's been a second round of voting. Last year, Prince Ali withdrew after the first round, when he collected just 73 votes to Sepp Blatter's 133.
First time that 2nd round voting will take place since Havelange vs Rous in 1974- Graham Dunbar (@gdunbarap) February 26, 2016
15:27 GMT: Champagne could yet play a role. Marcotti: Impression is Champagne voters backed him to make statement. Now that it's out of the way, self-interest returns.
Obviously what happens to Ali's votes is critical BUT don't forget Champagne. Seven isn't a small number in a race this close. Does he drop?- Sam Borden (@SamBorden) February 26, 2016
15:22 GMT: Further explanation below on how the second round of voting will work.
To win FIFA presidency in 2nd round, candidate has to receive 104 votes. If not, lowest ranking candidate drops out & goes to 3rd round- Rob Harris (@RobHarris) February 26, 2016
15:20 GMT: More from Vivek Chaudhary in Zurich: Prince Ali had been predicted to get around 30 votes, so will be delighted that his vote has more or less held up. It's all about tactical voting now. He's no fan of Sheikh Salman, who replaced him on FIFA's ExCo last year, so his supporters are likely to throw their lot behind Infantino.
15:16 GMT: All of the candidates are allowed to proceed to the second round of voting if they wish.
If a two-thirds majority is not reached in the 1st ballot, all candidates may proceed to the 2nd ballot. https://t.co/e8M2XHHuYt- FIFA Media (@fifamedia) February 26, 2016
15:14 GMT: Vivek Chaudhary: It's not looking good for Sheikh Salman. He's unlikely to pick up votes from Prince Ali's supporters or Champagne's, which is a combined 32.
The winner will need a simple majority of over 50 percent, i.e. 104 votes in the second round.
Sheikh Salman will be disappointed with his 85 votes, as he was projected to get around 90, and Infantino will be delighted with his 88.
15:13 GMT: ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti: Unexpected that Infantino would do so well. Prince Ali's votes decide election. Horse trading in full swing now.
15:10 GMT: First round of voting sees Infantino emerge as the leader, just ahead of Sheikh Salman.
Results of 1st ballot: 27 votes for Prince Ali; 85 votes for Shk. Salman; 7 votes for Jérôme Champagne; 88 votes for Gianni Infantino.- FIFA Media (@fifamedia) February 26, 2016
15:09 GMT: BREAKING The voting will go to a second round.
15:06 GMT: From the Associated Press:
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko says the 2018 World Cup host nation wants the next FIFA president to promote "stability" ahead of the tournament.
Mutko, who also heads the Russian Football Union, praised both Sheikh Salman and Gianni Infantino in comments on state TV, but refused to say which candidate Russia would back.
Mutko says "Russia would be satisfied with a candidate who brings stability back to FIFA and would bring back management to FIFA, because for us as World Cup hosts it's very important to understand that it's not just a Russian project but one for all of world football."
He also dismissed criticism and corruption allegations, saying much of the claims were "PR and propaganda," but admitted that "there is a lot of work left to clear this up and to restore trust in FIFA."
14:56 GMT: ESPN FC's Vivek Chaudhary reports from Zurich: 11 men in sombre suits counting the ballot papers. Under FIFA's new reforms, adopted earlier today, more women will be involved in future in how it does business.
14:52 GMT: A second round of voting may well be in order. Remember, to win in the first round, the leading candidate needs at least two-thirds of the 207 votes (138 votes).
Lots of chatter here. FWIW, I've heard talk that both Salman and Infantino believe they have 90+ votes. Would be a blow for Ali, if true.- Sam Borden (@SamBorden) February 26, 2016
14:50 GMT: And if you were worried about Sepp Blatter's whereabouts...
Sepp Blatter is at home in Zurich watching #FIFAelection on TV. Will release statement congratulating the new president tonight or tomorrow- Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) February 26, 2016
14:45 GMT: And more developments on the on-going Kuwaiti mystery from Marcotti: Delighted to report that Sheikh Ahmed is back on stage. Got a big hug from fellow ExCo member Sonia Bien Aime.
14:43 GMT: Voting is over and the counting now begins. Chaudhary: Zambia, ranked 76th in world, is last nation to vote.
14:35 GMT: United States now casting a vote. The end is in sight.
14:17 GMT: Helmut Sandrock, who resigned as general secretary of the German Football Association earlier on Friday, casts his vote at the FIFA Congress.
13:58 GMT: Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink doesn't appear quite as clued up as Arsene Wenger on the FIFA election and is focusing on the bigger picture: "I have not looked with a lot of interest to all the candidates. There's a lot of competition but I hope whoever comes out that there will be huge transparency. It's important for many people who work around this game that there is transparency at the highest level."
13:47 GMT: The Caribbean Football Union, which has 23 nations, was reported to be voting for Sheikh Salman en masse but the claims are disputed by Infantino's camp.
Infantino's camp rubbish suggestions the CFU have agreed to vote for Sheikh Salman as a bloc. "Very confident" of Caribbean support.- Ben Rumsby (@ben_rumsby) February 26, 2016
13:43 GMT: More from Chaudhary: Official from an Asian FA federation who has already voted tells ESPN FC: "Everybody is being asked before entering the polling booth if they have a mobile phone on them and that they cannot enter if they do. It's a very open process. I'm now off to have some coffee and cake."
13:31 GMT: Chaudhary: The English Football Association has cast its vote. The body's chairman, Greg Dyke, had already told ESPN FC that the FA was going to opt for Infantino.
13:15 GMT: Video: Toyko Sexwale referenced former South Africa president Nelson Mandela before announcing his withdrawal from the FIFA presidential race.
13:14 GMT: Chaudhary: All those voting told not to take mobile phones when using them inside the booths. This follows concerns that some have been asked to provide proof of who they voted for. It has happened in the past at FIFA elections.
13:03 GMT: Here is a reminder of how the new FIFA president will be determined...
12:53 GMT: The delegates are reminded that voting is secret as they prepare to go into the ballot boxes. They'll vote in alphabetical order. Chaudhary: Afghanistan ranked 175th in the world is first country called to vote.
Boring bit now as FAs go up 1 by 1 to vote. In meantime, enjoy this important message from our friends: https://t.co/GlwxSoPjeY- Gabriele Marcotti (@Marcotti) February 26, 2016
12:50 GMT: Sexwale impressed with his speech but as ESPN FC's Vivek Chaudhary notes: Sexwale was looking at securing no more than five votes.
Sexwale "One day I hope the president will be a woman... I believe in unity, the Mandela way."- Matt McGeehan (@mattmcgeehan) February 26, 2016
12:49 GMT: Match ratings for the speeches.
Final Speech match ratings:- Sam Borden (@SamBorden) February 26, 2016
Prince Ali 5
Sheikh Salman 6
(Note: Sexwale has withdrawn his candidacy)
12:47 GMT: Chaudhary: Sexwale told ESPN FC before today's Congress that he would prefer an African or Asian president. Expect his backers to vote for Sheikh Salman.
12:46 GMT: Marcotti: Tokyo Sexwale ends his candidate speech by saying he's pulling out of race. To other 4 candidates: "It's your problem now."
12:43 GMT: BREAKING Tokyo Sexwale ends his speech by withdrawing from the race.
Sexwale withdraws: "my campaign ends today and I suspend my participation. I leave only four people"- Matt McGeehan (@mattmcgeehan) February 26, 2016
12:38 GMT: The people of Zurich are no closer to finding any answers.
In case you're wondering, Sheikh Ahmed still AWOL. Has missed all the speeches. Last seen three hours ago. #WhereisAhmed- Gabriele Marcotti (@Marcotti) February 26, 2016
12:34 GMT: Marcotti: Tokyo Sexwale starts out with a joke. Says he should also get the unused time from the other candidates' speeches. He's 63 next month and just had a son, to whom he dedicates speech.
12:30 GMT: Infantino finishes two minutes ahead of time and is followed by Tokyo Sexwale. ESPN FC's Vivek Chaudhary: Tokyo asking to use up time for his speech that others didn't use up.
12:28 GMT: Marcotti again: Infantino has a point here. FIFA redistributes far lower percentage of revenue back to FAs relative to UEFA.
12:25 GMT: Infantino missed out on the chance to present the Europa League draw, which has seen Manchester United pitted against Liverpool, Tottenham face Borussia Dortmund and Valencia take on Athletic Bilbao, while holders Sevilla take on Basel. Story here.
12:24 GMT: Infantino chips in with a bit of Portuguese to take his language tally up to six. He's on a big charm offensive.
Infantino referencing Tokyo Sexwale and his visit to Robben Island with him. Big appeal to African voters on helping them more.- Richard Conway (@richard_conway) February 26, 2016
12:22 GMT: Vivek Chaudhary again: Infantino drops in a bit of Arabic in his speech. Appealing to Sheikh Salman's camp?
12:19 GMT: Gianni Infantino up now. Marcotti: Infantino speaks in 5 different languages in first 75 seconds of his speech.
Infantino demonstrating his multi-lingual skills by speaking in five languages. Also says: "I would like to speak to you with my heart."- Ben Rumsby (@ben_rumsby) February 26, 2016
12:15 GMT: Champagne reminds voters that while they've been pressured for past six months by candidates/lobbyists, once in the booth they can vote with their conscience.
12:14 GMT: The mystery of the missing Kuwaiti continues.
The disappearance of Sheikh Ahmad during this congress is fast becoming a full-blown mystery.- Ben Rumsby (@ben_rumsby) February 26, 2016
12:09 GMT: Marcotti: Champagne complains of "NBA-ification" of game and gap between rich and poor. Cites FA head who says, "Without FIFA we'd just be sitting on our sofas watching European games."
12:07 GMT: Marcotti again: Candidates have 15 mins to deliver speeches. Salman and Ali were well short of that. Champagne up now. Doubt he'll be as concise.
"the economic order of football is unfair" - FIFA candidate Jerome Champagne tells voters pic.twitter.com/jZ3BoKyHL7- Rob Harris (@RobHarris) February 26, 2016
12:04 GMT: Jerome Champagne up now, with Gianni Infantino to follow shortly. Acting UEFA president Infantino isn't at the Europa League draw in Nyon, of course, but you can follow that with our live Boot Room here if you so wish.
12:02 GMT: ESPN FC's Vivek Chaudhary provides a couple of updates from Zurich: AFC has organised a drinks reception at the Marriott Hotel, Zurich, tonight, where all its members are staying. Clearly believe they will have something to celebrate.
Two of South America's big hitters, Argentina and Brazil, considering breaking with rest of CONMEBOL and voting for Sheikh Salman, not Infantino, according to insiders.
11:56 GMT: Was the FA chairman Greg Dyke enjoying a nap earlier? Probably not, but amusing nonetheless.
Swiss paper Blick splashes homepage on FIFA congress, asking if Eng FA chair Dyke is asleep. (Could be looking down) pic.twitter.com/3LJuHmLILW- Rob Harris (@RobHarris) February 26, 2016
11:54 GMT: Sheikh Salman up now and says he will be talking from the heart, not from a "piece of paper." The candidates have been given a maximum of 15 minutes to make their speeches.
Sheikh Salman up next. He gets applause walking up to the podium. He says he'll just talk extemporaneously. Doesn't look like he has notes.- Sam Borden (@SamBorden) February 26, 2016
11:51 GMT: A spanner in the works for the two frontrunners?
Late night talks between at least two of Salman's rivals to form a voting alliance. Infantino not understood to be present.- James Corbett (@james_corbett) February 26, 2016
11:49 GMT: More Marcotti: Prince Ali says former Premier League boss and Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry will have FIFA role if he wins. Not sure that's a vote-getter.
11:46 GMT: Marcotti again: Prince Ali speaks first: "[FIFA's] past must not be allowed to destroy its future." Nice line.
11:39 GMT: ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti in Zurich: FIFA Congress reconvenes. Sheikh Ahmad still not there. Long lunch?
11:35 GMT: Cayman Islands official Canover Watson, who was recently sentenced to seven years in prison, was earlier given his marching orders by FIFA, which was perhaps not entirely unexpected. However...
Great thing is two member nations voted against dismissing him. A guy who will spend next 7 years in prison. https://t.co/irSsa2geqt- Gabriele Marcotti (@Marcotti) February 26, 2016
11:17 GMT: The five candidates have made some short statements to FIFA's YouTube channel.
11:04 GMT: If you're going to campaign for changes, why not dream big and suggest changing one of the most fundamental aspects of the sport?
No more draws. An American banner? Surely should be next goal wins? Jumpers for goalposts too... pic.twitter.com/H6apfGECQ2- Matt McGeehan (@mattmcgeehan) February 26, 2016
11:02 GMT: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger -- never afraid to oblige reporters at his news conference with a considered opinion on the big issues facing the game -- is not expecting much change when Sepp Blatter departs.
"I think UEFA has presented a good candidate with Infantino, who I know," Wenger said on Friday morning. "I do not know all the other candidates, nor do I know any programme of anybody, because that has been very vague.
"Honestly I do not believe that the next elections of FIFA will change a lot. We need maybe deeper changes. Let's see when somebody is elected if he is turning up with a programme that presents deep changes. Because we have to restore the credibility of our organisation, who are in charge of world football and that is quite a big job. I'm like you -- certainly I have been shocked by the bad news we got for months.
"I would say the first thing is to restore and convince everybody that honesty and clarity in the organisation are needed. Once you lose confidence in the credibility and in the honesty of the organization, you question every decision. Before I never questioned any decision from FIFA, I always thought it was good. But we need to restore credibility."
10:51 GMT: Election fever in Switzerland.
At least someone sees the funny side... pic.twitter.com/6frjS5UvvD- Ben Rumsby (@ben_rumsby) February 26, 2016
10:46 GMT: The full story on the vote to approve the FIFA reform package is here.
10:36 GMT: The FIFA members are enjoying an early lunch break, half an hour before midday local time, but we're going nowhere. Gab Marcotti in Zurich: After pro-Salman supporters this morning, here are anti-Salman demonstrators, claiming torture and human rights violations. Anti-Salman protestors chanting: "Down, down Salman!"
The Salman fan club has been replaced by a rival gang. pic.twitter.com/r895SdIClP- Ben Rumsby (@ben_rumsby) February 26, 2016
"Stop supporting Salman!" And "Down, down, Salman" among the more printable chants.- Ben Rumsby (@ben_rumsby) February 26, 2016
10:25 GMT: Wondering what the reform package actually is? Then read on...
The reforms address issues of governance, accountability, transparency and diversity.
The 24-member executive committee will be replaced by a council of 36 members, at least six of whom must be women.
Term limits of 12 years (three times four-year terms) will be in place for the FIFA president and FIFA council members, with the salaries of serving officials disclosed.
There will be independent figures on numerous committees and individuals can face independent integrity and eligibility checks.
Individual confederations and associations, such as UEFA, European football's governing body, and the Football Association, must also comply.
10:23 GMT: BREAKING FIFA Congress approved reform package 179 for, 22 against, 6 abstain/can't work out how to vote.
#FIFACongress approves extensive reforms and all statutory changes required to implement them. Vote count: 179 YES 22 NO (201 valid votes)- FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) February 26, 2016
10:20 GMT: Marcotti again: Palestinian delegate Gonzalo Boye Tuset speaks out against reform package. Asks for time...
Palestine FA's Gonzalo Boye Tuset: "During a storm is not the best moment to refurbish the vote. We should wait until things calm down"- Matt McGeehan (@mattmcgeehan) February 26, 2016
10:13 GMT: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, unlike Mesut Ozil, fancies Gianni Infantino for the role.
Wenger on FIFA election: "I think UEFA has presented a good candidate in Infantino." But says all candidates "very vague" on platform.- Mattias Karén (@MattiasKaren) February 26, 2016
10:06 GMT: ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti from Zurich: Francois Carrard now running through the reform package they'll be voting for. Easy to be cynical, but this could be significant... IF new president is serious about reform.
10:01 GMT: The Kuwaiti disappears again.
Now Sheikh Ahmed is gone again. Seat at ExCo table empty. Maybe had bad seafood last night?https://t.co/TOtYqxNgXo- Gabriele Marcotti (@Marcotti) February 26, 2016
09:59 GMT: Associated Press reports:
On the day of the FIFA presidential election, security forces are on the streets of Bahrain's capital in a sizeable show of force rarely seen since the island nation's 2011 uprising.
Sheikh Salman, a member of Bahrain's ruling family, is one of the favorites to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president.
It's not clear what security forces were preparing for Friday ahead of noon prayers, but travel within Manama was nearly impossible.
Sheikh Salman repeatedly has denied having any role in Bahraini soccer players being identified and arrested during the 2011 crackdown by the government led by his family, the island's Sunni rulers.
It also comes after security forces in eastern Saudi Arabia killed a Bahraini man several days ago.
09:53 GMT: Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein is very much an outsider, but he's received some support from Arsenal and Germany star Mesut Ozil.
09:50 GMT: FIFA secretary general Markus Kattner says they're $550m behind their revenue projections for this cycle but doesn't explain why, although the tweets below would seem to offer a reasonable explanation.
FIFA has been spending something like $10million each MONTH on extra legal bills since May- Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) February 26, 2016
Reminder: 27 out of 34 Fifa sponsorship slots remain unfilled, https://t.co/Gvo6TI7HAv- Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) February 26, 2016
09:45 GMT: ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti: Jordan (backed by UAE) ask that they be allowed to vote to reinstate Indonesia and Kuwait. Congress votes to delay decision. Ban upheld.
09:43 GMT: FIFA assesses its reform efforts.
How FIFA thinks it will have recovered from the corruption crisis within 2 years. Slide shown to congress in Zurich pic.twitter.com/HhJyzjwY23- Rob Harris (@RobHarris) February 26, 2016
09:35 GMT: ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti in Zurich on Sheikh Ahmed of Kuwait, who is not allowed to vote: When the day began, Sheikh Ahmed's seat at ExCo top table was empty. Now he has taken his seat. No idea where he was or what he was doing for the first 40 odd minutes of this FIFA Congress.
09:32 GMT: French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet has predicted that Gianni Infantino will be voted the new leader of FIFA on Friday "by a short head."
09:30 GMT: If you want to hear more from Issa Hayatou, FIFA has the speech in full.
Full transcript of Acting FIFA President Issa Hayatou's opening address available here: https://t.co/CCjLOB0zMK- FIFA Media (@fifamedia) February 26, 2016
Acting FIFA president Issa Hayatou blames "the smallest of minorities in our organisation."https://t.co/fyIkRuP6vc- Gabriele Marcotti (@Marcotti) February 26, 2016
09:17 GMT: Marcotti again: You'd think approving the agenda would be easy. 207 voting, 204 in favour, 0 against. I guess other three either abstained or could not work out how to use electronic vote.
09:11 GMT: More from Gab Marcotti: This is the exciting part when FIFA appoints scrutineers from among delegates of member nations: Three to check electronic voting system working, eight to help count show-of-hands votes, and four to hand out and collect ballot papers. Everybody pitching in!
08:58 GMT: From ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti live in Zurich...
IOC president Thomas Bach with the painful analogy: "Football is about scoring goals. Today you are deciding your team leader, today you are choosing your game strategy. I hope you can score the goals."
08:54 GMT: Acting FIFA president Issa Hayatou has been speaking from Zurich.
"This congress will quite certainly mark a watershed moment in the history of FIFA," Hayatou said. "FIFA has too often been at the centre of the world's attentions for all the wrong reasons, but we have the opportunity to change this.
"Together we are determined to refocus things as they should be -- i.e. put football at the centre of our attentions and nothing else.
"We will vote a series of reforms that are far-reaching and progressive and will help us build a stronger FIFA."
08:48 GMT: A test question to get the FIFA congress underway...
Not a joke. FIFA congress opens with test question, asking members if 2018 World Cup taking place in Russia. Only 95% say YES!- Rob Harris (@RobHarris) February 26, 2016
08:31 GMT: The FIFA clean-up starts here.
Person claiming to be ex-FIFA employee outside election building in Zurich, with "FIFA soap". VIDEO: pic.twitter.com/P2p0bJjGZk- Rob Harris (@RobHarris) February 26, 2016
08:08 GMT: FIFA officials, delegates and observers told the Associated Press that surveys of voters and confederations indicate Sheikh Salman had the most support and could win a majority on the first ballot.
07:26 GMT: Gab Marcotti, reporting from Zurich, says: FIFA Congress kicking off soon and we have a math issue. Salman and Infantino camps both claim 100+ votes, Ali's people 30+ and Sexwale/Champagne will get some too... Except there are only 207 votes. Either some pledged their vote to more than one guy or some campaigns are posturing. Something has got to give.
07:00 GMT: Support for FIFA presidential favourite Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa is already apparent...
Around 25 pro Shaikh Salman supporters outside Congress hall where Fifa election is to be held. pic.twitter.com/0NdI5r9u9k- Richard Conway (@richard_conway) February 26, 2016
The election is 11th on a list of 12 agenda items, which will also include crucial reforms to world football's governing body.
- ESPN FC writers based in each of the six FIFA regions explain the local mood.
- Will the FIFA presidential election really change anything? Here's Gab Marcotti's take.
- What can the new president do to clean the current mess? Nick Miller has some suggestions.
- Why should the average fan care? By Gab Marcotti.
- Our infographic of what you need to know.