The Emergency Executive Committee meeting is due to be held on October 20 ©Getty Images

UEFA are set to seek an alternative candidate to support to succeed Sepp Blatter as President of FIFA with Bahrain's Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa emerging as the most likely candidate if Michel Platini is barred from running. 

An emergency meeting at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, today saw 54 Member countries debate issues surrounding its French President, suspended last week by FIFA's Ethics Committee for receiving a payment of CHF 2 million (£1.3 million/$2.1 million/€1.8 million) from Blatter.

UEFA did not formally drop their support for Platini, who claims he is innocent, but nor did they offer him their full backing, calling only for him to be allowed the opportunity to clear his name. 

"We support Michel Platini's right to a due process and a fair trial and to the opportunity to clear his name," a UEFA statement said.

"We strongly call on all instances involved in the current process: FIFA's Ethics Committee, FIFA's Appeal Committee and, ultimately, the Court of Arbitration for Sport to work very rapidly to ensure that there is a final decision on the merits of the case by, at the latest, mid-November 2015."

Platini's chances of standing in the election on February 26 appear increasingly unlikely, however, after UEFA's general secretary Gianni Infantino ruled out them seeking a postponement, which would give the former French international more time to clear his name and campaign properly. 

"The UEFA Associations are of the opinion that the FIFA Congress should not be postponed because we are dealing with responsible people who care about the future of the game," Infantino said.

"FIFA deserves to have a new President who is legitimately elected.

"Only then can you implement reforms and change the image of FIFA."

With so many doubts over Platini, several European countries are now actively seeking another candidate to back with Sheikh Salman, President of the Asian Football Confederation, emerging as the most likely candidate. 

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino told a press conference in Nyon that Michel Platini should be given the opportunity to clear his name after he was suspended by FIFA for 90 days
UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino told a press conference in Nyon that Michel Platini should be given the opportunity to clear his name after he was suspended by FIFA for 90 days ©AFP/Getty Images

Things are set to become clearer when FIFA's ruling Executive Committee are due to hold an emergency meeting on October 20 at their headquarters in Zurich.

The Presidential election, which is currently scheduled for February 26, is expected to be one of the key areas discussed in the Swiss city, with a postponement among the options to be considered. 

It is likely to be discussed during the second item on the agenda with Domenico Scala, who leads the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee as well as the FIFA Audit and Compliance Committee, set to provide updates on progress.

The emergency meeting follows the suspension of Blatter for 90 days by the FIFA Ethics Committee, following the opening of a criminal investigation into allegations of two supposedly "disloyal payments" - those against the interests of FIFA - he had made in office, including one to Platini. 

Blatter is also accused of an unfavourable contract with the Caribbean Football Union - which was at the time headed by the now tainted Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago.

As well as Blatter and Platini's suspensions last week, South Korean challenger Chung Moon-joon, a former FIFA vice-president, was also handed a six-year ban from football after being found guilty of allegedly infringing rules in relation to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process.

Also outlined in the agenda is an update from the FIFA 2016 Reform Committee head François Carrard, who has been tasked with delivering a series of proposals aimed at restoring integrity and rebuilding the reputation of the governing body.

Carrard, who helped the International Olympic Committee (IOC) through governance reforms following the Salt Lake City crisis in 1998, was chosen to lead the process with FIFA being rocked by scandals since police arrested seven executives at their hotel in Zurich in May following an FBI enquiry and corruption allegations.

The agenda for the Emergency FIFA Executive Committee meeting has been revealed
The agenda for the Emergency FIFA Executive Committee meeting has been revealed ©FIFA

Cameroon's African Football Confederation President Issa Hayatou is set to chair the emergency meeting having taken the role as acting FIFA President following Blatter's suspension, although he claims not to have any interest in the position on a permanent basis.

“It’s certainly an unprecedented situation for FIFA,” said Hayatou after arriving in Zurich today.

“But we remain focused on the necessary reform process, the Presidential election and on supporting the current investigations.

"To restore public trust is a crucial objective.

"It is essential that FIFA carries on its mission of developing the game and staging international tournaments.”

In addition to Prince Ali, beaten by Blatter in May’s election before he stepped down amid the scandal, former Brazilian footballer Zico and Nigeria's Segun Odegbami have both indicated that they will run.

Also in the frame is former FIFA secretary general Michel Zen Ruffinen, a known critic of Blatter, who claimed he has been asked to stand.

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