FIFA to stay in Europe


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FOOTBALL: Sheikh Salman is the bookies’ favourite to succeed Sepp Blatter as head of FIFA later this month

FOOTBALL: Sheikh Salman is the bookies’ favourite to succeed Sepp Blatter as head of FIFA later this month

Governing body would not relocate should Bahraini candidate land top job

As the race for the FIFA presidential hot seat gathers pace, candidate Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, has said he plans to retain the name FIFA and keep its base in Europe, should he be elected.

Votes will be cast later this month to see who replaces the ousted Sepp Blatter, with Salman considered the odds-on favourite to land the prestigious position.

“FIFA has always been in Zurich,” he said to the Zurich daily Tages-Anzeiger when asked how often he, as a Bahraini citizen, would be in the city if he succeeded Swiss-born Blatter. “I see no reason to change that ... I will be in Zurich as often as needed.”

A number of investigations are currently being carried out into FIFA officials, leading to a scandal-ridden nature at the top of world football.

Salman said this is something that needs addressing immediately and denied allegations that he had previously used funds from Bahrain’s football association to win a FIFA executive committee seat.

“It's the work that must change, not the name,” he said. “We need zero tolerance against misconduct, fraud and corruption.”

Salman has previously stated that he is paying out of his own pocket to fund his campaign, having previously made similar moves for his position on the FIFA executive committee in 2009 and presidency of the Asian soccer body in 2013.

Asked if Blatter could attend a FIFA congress to elect his successor, he said: “I respect the FIFA rules. If they say banned officials cannot take part, then that's the way it is. The rules are for everyone.”

Votes will be cast and counted on 26th February.

The other election candidates are UEFA interim chief Gianni Infantino, ex-FIFA executive committee member Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, former FIFA deputy general secretary Jerome Champagne and South African Tokyo Sexwale.

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