Fifa set February 26th as date for voting on new president

Sepp Blatter to face the press for first time since announcing he’d stand down

The Fifa presidential election to choose Sepp Blatter's successor will be held on February 26th next year.

The decision was taken by Fifa’s executive committee on Monday morning.

It follows Blatter’s decision to resign four days after being re-elected in May. The decision gives Blatter seven more months in power before leaving the scandal-tainted governing body.

Fifa is reeling under the weight of American and Swiss criminal investigations into corruption, which led to 14 officials being indicted in May when Blatter won a fifth term.


Fifa’s 209 members will return to Zurich next year to select a new president almost than nine months after Blatter’s resignation statement.

Potential contenders include Uefa president Michel Platini and Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, who lost to Blatter in May.

Former Brazil great Zico and Liberia football federation president Musa Bility have said they will seek the five nominations required.

An “extraordinary elective congress” with all 209 member associations invited will decide on the next president of the governing body.

The leadership of the crisis-hit world football governing body gathered at their Zurich headquarters on Monday to set a date for the vote to replace the outgoing Blatter.

Also on the agenda are early plans for reforms in response to corruption scandals which have rocked Fifa.

Blatter and his general secretary Jerome Valcke will address the media following the meeting - the first time the president has faced the press since announcing he would stand down.

The organisation was left reeling before it's May congress after a dawn raid at a five-star Zurich hotel where seven officials, including Fifa vice-president Jeffrey Webb, were arrested.

On Saturday in New York, Webb pleaded not guilty to a range of charges including racketeering, money-laundering and fraud and was released on a $10 million bail.

Fifa is under investigation from the US Department of Justice as well as Swiss authorities, and also faces growing pressure from top sponsors, such as Coca Cola and McDonald’s who have urged major changes.

The organisation insists it is taking the need to reform seriously and is co-operating with investigators, but for many critics those claims will be greeted with scepticism until the man who has ruled the body since 1998 is replaced.

The 79-year-old Blatter has repeatedly said that he will not stand again and while he has reneged on that promise before, saying his election in 2011 was his last before changing his mind, it would be a major surprise if he made another u-turn.

With Fifa rules stating candidates need to announce their intention to run four months ahead of a vote, the focus will quickly turn to who intends to run for the most powerful job in world soccer.

In May’s vote Jordan’s Prince Ali bin Al Hussein was beaten by Blatter but he has yet to indicate if he will run again, while it remains unclear if Uefa’s French president Michel Platini will stand.

Pressure groups such as Transparency International will be keen to learn about Fifa’s reform plans on Monday having urged them to allow an independent, third-party, commission to handle the process.

Meanwhile British MPs say they are to launch an investigation into the Fifa scandal in which the Football Association, the Serious Fraud Office and global sponsors will have to explain why they did not do more to expose corruption at the core of the sport’s world governing body.

Jesse Norman, the new Culture, Media and Sport select committee chairman, declared that "Britain must play its part" in the global drive to clamp down on corruption.

He has ordered an investigation into Fifa reform, due to begin in September, saying that “more can be done”.