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FOOTBALL

February date assured for Fifa presidency vote

Fifa's executive committee reconfirmed Tuesday that they will hold the election for a new president to replace Sepp Blatter next February.

February date assured for Fifa presidency vote
Photo: AFP

In a statement, world football's governing body again backed an extraordinary elective congress to be held in Zurich on February 26th 2016, when there will be a vote for a new president.
   
It means potential candidates have until Monday to register their interest in running for the most powerful job in football to replace Blatter, 79, who has been in charge since 1998.
   
Football's governing body has been in chaos since October 9th when the ethics committee suspended both current president Blatter and UEFA president Michel
Platini for 90 days due to an ongoing investigation.
   
Prince Ali bin al Hussein, who lost to Blatter in May's election, and former Trinidad and Tobago captain David Nakhid have officially stated their intention to run, as has Platini.
   
But the executive committee confirmed Platini's bid will not be considered as long as he is suspended.
   
Chairman of the Fifa Electoral Committee, Domenico Scala, explained “presidential candidacies submitted in due time and form, but which relate to candidates who are subject to a (provisional or definite) ban from taking part in any football-related activity, will not be processed . . . as long as such ban is valid and in force.”

But Scala left the door open for Platini by adding that should his ban be lifted or expire before the February 26th election, the Electoral Committee “would decide, depending on the respective exact point in time, on how to proceed with the candidacy concerned.”

A source close to Platini welcomed the news.
   
“This is rather good news.,” the source told AFP.

“The election committee could have buried the nomination of Michel Platini,” the source said.

“We have the feeling that the election committee has not killed Michel Platini.”   

Platini, the UEFA president, was considered the favourite to replace Blatter until his suspension.
   
His chances nosedived as neither he nor Blatter can explain an irregular payment of two million Swiss francs ($2 million) made in 2011 for advisory work the Frenchman did for Fifa from 1998 to 2002.   

Both former Switzerland defenders Ramon Vega and Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim
al Khalifa, president of the Asian Football Confederation, say they are considering running for Fifa's presidency.
   
Fifa's executive committee also welcomed preliminary reform proposals to set an age restriction of 74 years and a 12-year maximum tenure for the Fifa presidency.

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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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