FIFA presidential election: Who is standing in February 2016?

November 2, 2015, 1:38pm

By Tom Sweetman, CNN

(CNN)One can't campaign, another presented South Africa's version of "The Apprentice" and a third candidate is denying allegations of human rights abuses.

Welcome to the 2016 FIFA presidential elections -- a ballot designed to clean up soccer.

The eight-man shortlist of candidates to replace outgoing president Sepp Blatter is now complete and the campaigning can begin in earnest ahead of the final vote on February 26.

It's been a turbulent year for world football's governing body. Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term as FIFA chief back in May, but following a corruption scandal that rocked the organization, the Swiss resigned from his role just four days later.

So a second election in as many years was called and the deadline for submitting candidacies -- plus the five nominations required from member federations -- expired Monday.

Here are eight candidates vying to succeed Blatter -- who was provisionally banned from football for 90 days by FIFA's Ethics Committee in the wake of a Swiss criminal investigation.

Michel Platini

UEFA president Michel Platini was the first to enter the FIFA presidential race back in July and up until last month was the favorite to succeed Blatter.

Now, however, questions remain over whether he is even still eligible to stand after he was banned alongside Blatter, pending a disciplinary hearing, amid an investigation into a "disloyal" $2 million payment he received from Blatter for work allegedly carried out between 1999 and 2002.

"I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague," said Platini, who has appealed the ban and is awaiting the verdict of the FIFA Appeals Committee

If his suspension, which is due to expire in the first week of January, is lifted before the February election then he may be able to rejoin the race.

Platini, one of the finest players of his generation, captained France to European Championship glory in 1984, while he won the European Cup and two Italian Serie A titles with Juventus.

He has served as the head of European football since 2007.

Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein

Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein of Jordan was next to announce his presidency bid in September. A FIFA vice-president, he was the sole challenger to Blatter in the May 29 election but conceded defeat after receiving 73 votes to the Swiss' 133 in the first round of voting.

Prince Ali, son of the late King Hussein of Jordan, is head of Jordan's football association as well as the West Asian Football Federation.

"For men and women, players and referees, administrators and fans [football] is hope, it is unity," he said upon announcing his bid.

"It is a powerful tool to make the world a better place."

David Nakhid

Ex-Trinidad and Tobago captain David Nakhid submitted his candidacy earlier this month.

Nakhid, who currently runs the David Nakhid Inernational Football Academy, also played for the likes of PAOK of Greece and Malmo of Sweden.

"What we need to do is make a serious investment in our potential by bringing the correct leadership regionally and globally to take the Caribbean forward," he is quoted as saying.

"We need to shift the paradigm, shift FIFA away from that Euro-centric look and bring the Caribbean to the table."

However in a statement issued Wednesday, FIFA explained that Nakhid had been omitted from the final list of candidates. According to FIFA, one of five football associations that declared its support for Nakhid had already done so for another candidate.

Tokyo Sexwale

South African businessman Tokyo Sexwale, a former political prisoner and friend of the late Nelson Mandela, announced his intention to run for presidency after the South African Football Association's National Executive Committee unanimously endorsed his candidacy last week.

Sexwale has been part of FIFA's anti-discrimination taskforce and has worked on helping foster a relationship between the football associations of Israel and Palestine, while he also served on the organizing committee for South Africa's 2010 World Cup.

Away from football, Sexwale has presented the South African version of the hit TV show "The Apprentice."

Jerome Champagne

Former FIFA international relations director Jerome Champagne also confirmed last week that he will be standing in the election.

He had hoped to challenge Blatter in May's election but was forced to withdraw after he failed to acquire the five nominations needed to stand.

The former French diplomat's manifesto includes plans to modernize how FIFA is run, cut European places at FIFA as well as the World Cup, while trialling the use of video reviews to help referees.

"Despite the disappointment, I do not feel any bitterness because I know how the pyramidal structure of football works," Champagne said after his withdrawal earlier this year.

"They feared reprisals from their confederations having issued recommendations."

Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa

Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa launched his bid to become the next FIFA president 24 hours before the deadline.

A member of the Bahraini Royal Family, Sheikh Salman has been criticized by human rights organizations after being accused of complicity in crimes against humanity.

He allegedly headed a committee which identified 150 athletes involved in pro-democracy demonstrations in 2011, many of whom were later imprisoned and tortured.

Sheikh Salman's representatives were not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNN, although he has labeled these allegations as "nasty lies" in an interview given to the BBC.

Gianni Infantino

UEFA announced on the day of the deadline that its general secretary Gianni Infantino -- Platini's right-hand man -- will run for the FIFA presidency.

The governing body's executive committee held a meeting Monday at which it agreed to support Infantino as a candidate. The Swiss, a multilingual lawyer, has worked at UEFA since 2000 and took up his role as general secretary in 2009.

"We believe that Gianni Infantino has all of the qualities required‎ to tackle the major challenges ahead and to lead the organisation on a path of reform to restore FIFA's integrity and credibility," a UEFA statement read.

According to reports, Infantino will drop out of the race if Platini is cleared by the FIFA Appeals Committee.

Musa Bility

Liberian Football Association president Musa Bility also confirmed on the day of the deadline that he is to run for the FIFA presidency.

Bility has endured a difficult relationship with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in recent years, taking a case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over changes to the way CAF elects its president.

"If we are to change football, then we have to make sure that those who have been running FIFA for the last 20-25 years have nothing to do with it," Bility said after announcing his candidacy.