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FIFA confirms February presidential election date

FIFA has confirmed that it will hold a special congress to elect a new president early next year. It is not clear whether the suspended Michel Platini, formerly a favorite for the post, will be allowed to stand.

Followng an extraordinary meeting in Zurich to discuss the world governing body's current crisis, FIFA's Executive Committee confirmed the February 26 date for the congress, when a successor to President Sepp Blatter is to be elected.

Blatter, like UEFA President Platini and FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valke was handed a provisional 90-day ban by FIFA's Ethics Committee amid ongoing investigations earlier this month. All three have denied any wrongdoing.

There had been speculation that the Executive Committee could move to delay the election due to the suspensions.

Platini's candidacy in doubt

With the vote set to go ahead as planned, it is not clear whether Platini, who prior to the ban had been seen as the frontrunner, will be able to enter the race.

A statement posted on FIFA's website said that its Ad-hoc Electoral Committee would not process any candidacies for the presidency as long as they were subject to a ban - which Platini will almost certainly still be on Monday, the deadline for candidates to register. However, the statement did not rule out allowing a candidate to register at a later date, after a suspension is no longer in force.

The statement said that "should such a ban be lifted or expire before the FIFA presidential election, scheduled for 26 February 2016, the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee would decide, depending on the respective exact point in time, on how to proceed with the candidacy concerned."

Also at Tuesday's meeting, the Executive Committee agreed to implement measures that it said would result in more transparency for ethics proceedings. It said that FIFA's Code of Ethics would be amended too.

Due to the bans, neither Blatter nor Platini were able to attend the meeting.

Both have protested their innocence in connection with a "disloyal payment" of 2 million Swiss francs (2.1 million dollars) that Blatter paid to Platini in 2011, which is the subject of an investigation by Swiss prosecutors.

A separate FIFA committee has yet to rule on Platini's appeal and he has vowed to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if necessary to clear his name.

pfd/msh (AFP, dpa)

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