Sepp Blatter has three official challengers as FIFA approves presidential candidates

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Sepp Blatter will have competition this year if he is to win another four-year term as head of FIFA.

The governing body approved the candidacy of Blatter for the upcoming election, along with three challengers. They are Dutch federation president Michael van Praag, Jordanian Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, and Portuguese football great and former Ballon d’Or winner Luis Figo.

The trio successfully got the backing of five individual FA’s, along with proof that they played “an active role in association football” for two of the last five years. All four also passed an “integrity check” according to the official FIFA release. The release also stated that two Swiss members of the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee, which approved the candidates, removed themselves from their positions prior to the approval meeting in order to dispel any conflicts of interest.

Those who didn’t make the deadline or dropped out include Jerome Champagne, Mino Raiola, and the farcical publicity stunt by David Ginola.

The election will take place May 29 in Zurich, and will be overseen by the same Ad-hoc Electoral Committee.

UEFA is thought to have attempted to flood the pot with candidates from Europe, in the association’s attempt to take down Blatter. With the incumbent thought to be a near-lock to earn his fifth term, the strategy was to throw so many options other than Blatter that it would sap him of votes and eventually lose him the election.

Ultimately, UEFA found backing for van Praag and Figo, with Champagne unable to secure FA backing and others also failing to do the same.