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29/10/2015 06:36 GMT | Updated 28/10/2016 06:12 BST

Fifa Presidential Candidates Paint a Bleak Future for Organisation's Future

Eight will enter, only one will leave...

It's not Survivor, it's not X Factor, it's the Fifa elections. Of course. The final nominations are all in as of 11pm on Monday, and now the campaigning begins in earnest to become the man to replace Sepp Blatter at the head of football's governing body.

It's being billed as the biggest chance in years to clean up football's upper echelons and put the sport back on the right path, finally moving away from shady dealings and outright bribery. Unfortunately, the candidates who have come forward are... somewhat less than entirely inspiring.

You'll have seen most of the major Fifa headlines over the last six months unless you've been living under a rock (in which case, it's very flattering that this column is what you use to inform yourself), with Sepp Blatter now officially under criminal investigation in Switzerland after a few months of handwaving and throwing others under the bus.

The investigation into Blatter brings us nicely onto the first of the troubling candidates: Uefa's Michel Platini. Thought by many to be the natural successor to Blatter after he announced that he would be stepping down, but recent allegations of impropriety involving the Uefa chief have seen him suspended from Fifa for 90 days while investigations are ongoing.

He was paid £1.35million by Fifa in 2011, apparently for work done as an adviser to Blatter between 1998 and 2002, raising questions over why the payment took nine years to go through and why such a large sum was only ever agreed upon verbally as a 'gentleman's agreement' and not put in official accounts.

The very fact that Platini is standing while currently suspended by the organisation he's applying to lead gives a hint that the road towards a clean and transparent Fifa will be a long one, and a quick scan down the list of candidates doesn't inspire much more confidence.

Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa announced his candidacy at the last minute and is already seen as one of the frontrunners to lead the organisation, expecting a swell of support as the head of the Asian Football Confederation.

On the other hand, he's already had to come out and deny long-standing accusations that he was complicit in the capture and torture of Bahraini footballers and other athletes when several people died and many others were detained and tortured during protests in the country in 2011, as head of the Bahrain Football Association and a member of the ruling royal family at the time.

Human rights groups have protested against him since the incidents, but he has slammed the allegations as 'nasty lies'. True or not, and it's possible that only those involved will ever know for sure, he's hardly the publicly virtuous, untainted figure that the organisation is in need of.

Uefa secretary general Gianni Infantino's candidacy appears to depend on whether Platini is removed from the running by Fifa's ethics committee, with many believing that he will withdraw himself if his Uefa boss is cleared of any wrongdoing. Tokyo Sexwale has the disadvantage of being a relative outsider in football spheres, but the South African's time imprisoned alongside Nelson Mandela on Robben Island for his anti-apartheid protests show a principled man who is also an accomplished businessman, his personal wealth totalling around £130million.

Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein is actually the bookies' favourite to win the position, but Sheikh Salman's candidacy means that he's unlikely to even win the support of his own confederation, with many in power believing that he doesn't have what it takes to lead the organisation, while the likes of Jerome Champagne, who couldn't even get the five nominations required to stand for election in May, are considered to be real outsiders with little to none of the major backing required for a successful bid.

So yes, there's reform coming at Fifa. But it's going to be light-years from the seismic changes that the football-watching public are hoping for, with most of the 'old guard' still firmly in position in the halls of power and even the most prominent candidates having massive question marks over their suitability.

By all means, be optimistic; this is a new, Blatter-free dawn for Fifa after all. But don't be naive enough to think that systematic corruption all around world football will disappear just because of a couple of arrests and a change of figurehead.

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