A FIFA congress to choose a new president for world football’s crisis-hit governing body opened in Zurich on Friday, where major reforms were also to be adopted.
The meeting to replace the disgraced Sepp Blatter began with a video montage that noted FIFA’s need to restore its “credibility” and move past the period of unprecedented scandal that has plagued the organisation in recent months.
Five candidates led by Sheikh Salman Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the head of Asian football, UEFA’s secretary general Gianni Infantino and former FIFA vice-president Prince Ali bin al Hussein lead the presidential contest.
Acting president Issa Hayatou said the congress would be a “watershed moment” for FIFA after the scandal of the past year.
The head of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach addressed the congress on what he termed “an extraordinary day”, which gave FIFA the chance to “turn the page,” following one of the darkest period’s in its 112-year history.
“You will not only elect a new president, but you will also decide on the future of world football,” the IOC leader told FIFA members.
Recalling past corruptions scandals at the IOC, Bach said Olympics’ governing body “knows from our own bitter experience” that solving crises “is not an easy process.”
“This needs to be an ongoing and continuous effort,” the IOC chief told FIFA’s 209 members associations.
“We all here know that football is about scoring goals. Today you are electing your new team leader,” he added.
“I hope with you in the game that follows you will score the winning goals for world football.”