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FOOTBALL

Three candidates challenge Fifa president

Zurich-based Fifa, football's world governing body, announced on Monday that four candidates are bidding to become its president, including long-time Swiss incumbent Sepp Blatter.

The three others who have thrown their hat into the ring are Asian Football Confederation vice-president Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan, former Portugal international Luis Figo and Dutch football chief Michael van Praag.
   
Two others who had been considering making bids — former France international forward David Ginola and ex-FIFA executive official Jérôme Champagne — both failed to get the necessary backing from five national associations.
   
A Fifa statement said that the candidature dossiers would next go before the investigatory chamber of an independent Ethics Committee to carry out integrity checks on the four men within ten days.
   
"Upon receipt of the results of the integrity checks, the (Fifa) Ad-hoc Electoral Committee will reconvene in order to review all of the submissions and validate their compliance with the applicable Fifa regulatory provisions.
   
"Following this process, the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee will formally admit and declare the candidates who are eligible for the office of Fifa president."
   
After that the Fifa executive committee will meet in Zurich on May 29th and decide if Blatter will get a fifth term as president or bring in a new man.
   
The 78-year-old Swiss bureaucrat is seen as an outstanding favourite to win a new term despite a storm of protest over the way he runs the organization.

He has managed to ride out past criticism, including this spoof video related to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil:

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FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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