Caf's Suketu Patel withdraws from Fifa Council elections

By Mark GleesonBBC Sport
Confederation of African Football vice-president Suketu Patel
Suketu Patel's withdrawal leaves only five candidates for two places

Confederation of African Football vice-president Suketu Patel has withdrawn from the race for the two extra African places on the Fifa Council.

It leaves only five candidates left for the election which is likely to dominate Caf's Extraordinary General Assembly in Cairo on Thursday.

No reasons were given for Patel's withdrawal, which Caf has confirmed.

South Sudan Football Association president Chabur Goc Alei pulled out of the election last week.

It leaves Caf's second vice-president Almamy Kabele Camara of Guinea as the most senior figure in the race and among the favourites along with fellow executive committee member Kwesi Nyantakyi, the Ghana Football Association president.

The other three candidates are Ahmad from Madagascar, who uses just a single name, Hamidou Djibrilla of Niger and Senegal Football Association chef Augustin Senghor.

Africa has two more places on the expanded Fifa Council which is much the same as their old tarnished executive committee but instead of 24 members now has 36 and has been renamed.

The two new African members will hold their seats only until 17 March, when they face re-election at the next Caf Congress, which is being held in Addis Ababa.

But election success in Cairo on Thursday will likely give the incumbent a head start in their bid for re-election next year and a four-year term.

The gathering of Caf's 54-member associations has been called to vote in the two new members before the new Fifa Council has its first meeting on 13-14 October.

Caf presidency

It is also expected to pass changes to the statues to put the organisation in line with the recently adopted Fifa reforms.

The most significant change will be ending the rule, introduced just four years ago, that restricted potential candidates for the Caf presidency to members of its 15-man executive committee only.

It had originally been seen as an attempt by long-serving president Issa Hayatou to hand pick his successor.

But a proposal from the Djibouti football federation now reads that anyone can stand for election as Caf president as long as they are "supported by at least five member associations".

The potential candidate must also have played an active role in football as an official of a member association, during four of the last five years preceding the submission of the candidacy, and they must pass an eligibility check.

It is expected to be passed without much fuss.