Zurich – Nigerian businessman Orji Uzor Kalu has become the latest person to consider making a bid for the presidency of soccer’s global governing body FIFA as it struggles to emerge from a corruption scandal.
Kalu, a businessman with oil, tourism and other interests in West Africa and former governor of Abia state, is “carefully deliberating upon the decision” to stand as a successor to outgoing president Sepp Blatter, his Washington-based spokesman Sam Amsterdam said in a statement.
Blatter, at the helm since 1998, announced in June he would step down as FIFA was rocked by an investigation into soccer corruption. The United States indicted 14 sports marketing executives and soccer officials, including several from FIFA on bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges.
Kalu’s statement said Blatter, who was not among those indicted, “has crafted an unparalleled legacy in establishing football’s presence in the international emerging marketplace.”
“He understood and expanded upon the belief of many theologians in that sport is a bastion of opportunity, a levelling barometer and a source of patriotism for all walks of life.”
UEFA president Michel Platini, a former French international, is considered the front-runner among the list of candidates who have said they want to run for the FIFA presidency at an extraordinary meeting on Feb. 26.
Others include Chung Mong-joon, the scion of Korea’s Hyundai industrial conglomerate, Liberian football association president Musa Bility and Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan.
Some other former players also intend to run including Zico, who played at three World Cups for Brazil, former Trinidad and Tobago international midfielder David Nakhid and Kalu’s compatriot Segun Odegbami.
The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) has said it would only back a candidate who met stringent conditions, including endorsements from the relevant state football association and a letter of support from the National Sports Commission.
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