FIFA Election: Sixty Per Cent of Fans Reject All Candidates

FIFA is still struggling to regain public trust.
A FIFA logo near the organization's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, February 25, 2016. FIFA will elect a new president on Friday to replace Sepp Blatter. Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

FIFA hopes that its election of a successor to Sepp Blatter on Friday will herald a new dawn for the organization following months of scandal.

Five candidates in Zurich will seek the votes of the world's football confederations, headed by the favorites, Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa, President of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino.

But a study published by Transparency International suggests that the general public will take more convincing that world football's governing body is on the right track. Blatter's reign ended in ignominy in December 2015 when the Swiss was banned from the game for eight years, reduced to six years this week by FIFA's appeals committee, for his part in an alleged "disloyal payment" made to UEFA President Michel Platini, who has also seen his eight-year ban reduced to six. Both Blatter and Platini have denied any wrongdoing.

A survey of 25,000 fans in 28 countries, released on the eve of the election, has found that 69 per cent of those fans have "no confidence in FIFA."

Perhaps more worryingly for the five presidential candidates, 60 percent of the fans surveyed said they would not vote any of them in to replace Blatter, who is still expected to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) despite the reduction of his ban.

"As fans we have a love affair with football. When our teams win we are ecstatic, when they lose we are devastated. But when results—whether of games, or rights for hosting events, elections, etc—are driven not by fair competition, but by corruption, we feel betrayed," Cobus de Swardt, managing director of Transparency International, said.

There is hope, however, for FIFA, whose nadir began in earnest in May 2015 when several of its top officials were arrested by the FBI on the eve of the last election, won by Blatter against Prince Ali bin Hussein of Jordan, in a wide-ranging investigation into alleged kickbacks and bribes in CONMBEBOL and CONCACAF, the South American and Central American football confederations.

Fifty per cent of those surveyed think FIFA will eventually restore its reputation as an organization of moral probity. Interestingly, 77 per cent of Russians surveyed think FIFA will regain its reputation. The country will host the 2018 FIFA World Cup; in May 2015, a criminal investigation was opened into the awarding of that tournament and the 2022 version in Qatar.

Scroll down for a full breakdown of the results.

A FIFA election study by Transparency International
A FIFA election study by Transparency International Transparency International/Forza Football