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Odegbami withdraws from FIFA presidency race

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Former Nigeria International, Segun Odegbami, has withdrawn from the FIFA presidential election, as he could not secure the required backing to make him a contestant, his campaign manager said.

FIFA is seeking to replace outgoing President Sepp Blatter.

While FIFA is yet to come out with the official list of contestants that beat its Monday midnight deadline, PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the late endorsement of Odegbami by the Nigeria Football Federation contributed a great deal to his missing out on contesting for the plum position.

Among other things, qualification to stand for the FIFA Presidency demands a minimum of five written endorsements from national football federations plus a declaration of a role in the game in two of the past five years.

It was gathered that while the NFF made verbal pronouncement of endorsing Odegbami over the weekend, official documents to that effect were only received on Monday afternoon-hours before the deadline set by FIFA.

The head of the campaign team for the Odegbami FIFA Presidential bid, Ade Adeagbo, in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES said it would have been great if they received the NFF’s endorsement much earlier because mostly, the trips to West African, South African and even European countries depended on the NFF’s endorsement.

“We would have wished that the NFF gave us this endorsement earlier than they gave us… yes we were warmly received in our trips to the West and Southern coasts of Africa and we even touched some European countries.

But in all; everybody that wanted to offer support said we need to get our home FA approval first which is understandable,” he stated.

Already the other Nigerian in the race former Abia Governor Orji Uzor Kalu jettisoned his ambition; leaving two other Africans -Musa Bility (President of the Liberian federation) and Tokyo Sexwale (South African businessman) in the race.

Aside the African duo, six other contestant are also confirmed to be in the race – Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, Michel Platini, Jerome Champagne, David Nakhid, Shaikh Salman Bin Brahim Al Khalifa and Gianni Infantino.

The World Football’s governing body has confirmed it will hold the election to determine Blatter’s successor at a special congress on 26 February 2016.

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