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Uncertainty Clouds Odegbami’s Candidature

… As Registration for FIFA top job ends today

Segun Odegbami risks being disallowed from contesting next year’s FIFA Presidential election should he failed to register his papers at FIFA headquarters by midnight today.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had on Friday endorsed the ex-international ahead of former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, who also indicated interest in replacing suspended FIFA president, Sepp Blater.

Only five contenders had registered their papers as at yesterday. These are the suspended UEFA president, Michel Platini, a former FIFA vicepresident Prince Ali bin al Hussein, David Nakhid, a former Trinidad and Tobago captain, Jerome Champagne, a former FIFA official, and Tokyo Sexwale of South Africa.

Attempts by The UNION at confirming whether Odegbami had filed his papers proved abortive as calls made to his mobile telephone line did not go through.

However, investigation revealed that non-registration of Odegbami’s papers might not be unconnected with his efforts at getting more endorsements since one of the conditions set by FIFA is that candidates must me endorsed by the footall federations of five countries.

Candidates have until midnight Monday to register papers at FIFA headquarters.

The world body’s electoral committee will then carry out integrity checks on all of the runners before confirming them for the vote to be held at a special FIFA congress in Zurich.

Platini had been the frontrunner in the race after Blatter announced in June that he would stand down.

But a Swiss criminal investigation into Blatter and a two million dollar payment made by FIFA to Platini in 2011 has thrown the race wide open again.

Blatter and Platini have been suspended for 90 days and the French football legend’s candidacy will only be examined when the ban ends in early January.

–    Oladipo Okubanjo

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