Blatter submits bid for fifth term as FIFA president
PARIS - FIFA boss Joseph Blatter on Thursday submitted his candidature for a fifth term as president of world football's governing body.
"Today (Thursday) is a key date in the electoral calendar. I've made my submission, now the electoral committee follow a process," the 78-year-old Swiss wrote on his Twitter account.
The deadline for nominees to announce their candidacies falls at midnight on Thursday.
Blatter, who has held the post since 1998, had already indicated his intention to seek another term, and has wide support in Asia, Africa and Oceania.
Among his challengers are former Portugal and Real Madrid winger Luis Figo, Dutch football boss Michael Van Praag, Asian Football Confederation vice-president Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, ex-FIFA executive Jerome Champagne and former France winger David Ginola.
"It's very difficult to beat Blatter, I know, but I think the world of football is with me," said Ginola, 47, who is being paid pound sterling250,000 by betting company Paddy Power to throw his hat into the ring.
Ginola said the challengers were looking for "more democracy and more transparency" in football's world governing body.
"It can't be that football is the most popular sport, but the most inaccessible politically speaking," Ginola told Spanish sports daily Marca.
Candidates must have played an active role in football administration for two of the past five years and be publicly nominated by five of FIFA's 209 member associations.
Blatter's reign has been tarnished by accusations of corruption stemming from the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.
Although the deadline is on Thursday, FIFA official Domenico Scala said it could take time before the names of the candidates are revealed.
"We cannot make a statement at the time of the date limit," said Scala, president of FIFA's Audit and Compliance Committee.
"A certain time will be needed before the ad hoc electoral commission are in a position to announce the candidates."