Golden 25 - #1 - The New FIFA President

(ATR) FIFA searches for a savior who can repair the scandal decimating the federation.

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - OCTOBER 20:  The shadow of FIFA president, Sepp Blatter is seen behind the FIFA World Cup Trophy as he delivers a speech after the FIFA Executive Committee Meeting on October 20, 2011 in Zurich, Switzerland. During this third meeting of the year, held on two days, the FIFA Executive Committee will approve the match schedules for the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.  (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - OCTOBER 20: The shadow of FIFA president, Sepp Blatter is seen behind the FIFA World Cup Trophy as he delivers a speech after the FIFA Executive Committee Meeting on October 20, 2011 in Zurich, Switzerland. During this third meeting of the year, held on two days, the FIFA Executive Committee will approve the match schedules for the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

(ATR) As Sepp Blatter exits in disgrace amid the biggest crisis in FIFA’s history, his successor has a massive job to restructure and implement reforms.

Not only is the future of FIFA at stake. Sports leaders throughout the Olympic family believe the image of all is being dragged down by the scandal.

The new FIFA president is number-one in the Around the Rings Golden 25 for 2016. Now in its 20th year, the survey ranks 25 individuals or events expected to have a major influence on the Olympics in the year ahead.

After a year of scandal that ended with eight-year bans for Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini, there is intense scrutiny on the manifesto pledges of the five men seeking to secure the FIFA presidency in the Feb. 26 election in Zurich.

Jerome Champagne, Gianni Infantino, Prince Ali Bin al Hussein, Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa and Tokyo Sexwale are battling to replace the disgraced Blatter. The 79-year-old and Platini are both appealing the football bans.

The candidates will spend the next nine weeks criss-crossing the globe in a bid to convince FIFA’s 209 federations to vote for them.

Shaikh Salman is regarded as the front-runner now that Platini is out of the picture, while Infantino could provide strong competition. It’s hardto see where Prince Ali, who was defeated in the May election, will get his votes with Asia largely backing the Asian Football Confederation chief from Bahrain. The UEFA general secretary, meanwhile, will gather plenty of European support.

Issa Hayatou, the current interim president of FIFA, will play a pivotal role in bringing African votes to one of the candidates, which is unlikely to be Sexwale of South Africa. Champagne, a former FIFA deputy general secretary, has some good ideas and articulates them well but lacks the global connections to win.

Deals will be done and there will no doubt be a few more twists and turns in the contest. It’s hard to envisage all five remaining in the running; two or three of them are expected to drop out and throw their support behind the leading contenders.

Whoever secures the top job in world football must not only swiftly put in place structures and policies to restore FIFA’s scandal-hit credibility but also continue to manage the fall-out from the ongoing corruption scandal and implement reforms approved at the FIFA Congress.

2015 ranking: not ranked

Written by Mark Bisson.

20 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is AroundTheRings.com, for subscribers only.

Recent Articles

From ceremonial flourish, to ceremonial award; I’mPOSSIBLE awards given out at Tokyo 2020

The iconic moment when Russian Paralympian, Alexey Chuvasev, changed the word impossible to the phrase I’m possible has now gone full circle with a set of I’mPossible Awards given out at Tokyo 2020.

Pandemic forces torch lighting ceremony for Beijing 2022 to be held without spectators in Olympia

For the second straight Olympics, the traditional week-long relay through Greece before the torch departs for the host country has also been called off due to COVID-19.

David Beckham gains power at Inter Miami, who look to Lionel Messi as future star

After Qatar 2022, the next World Cup, 2026, will be played in Mexico, Canada and the United States. Being part of MLS before 2026 would imply an important business synergy for the U.S. League, Inter Miami itself and the player.

David Beckham gana peso en el Inter de Miami, que mira a Lionel Messi como futura estrella

Tras Qatar 2022, el siguiente Mundial, el de 2026, se jugará en México, Canadá y Estados Unidos. Ser parte de la MLS antes del 2026 implicaría una importante sinergia de negocios tanto para la Liga estadounidense como para el propio Inter Miami y el jugador, campeón olímpico en Pekín 2008.

Vladimir Putin will attend Beijing Olympics despite Russian government officials being banned due to doping sanctions

The Russian president is the first major head of state who has signed up for the Games as China faces potential diplomatic boycott.