In an effort that will undoubtedly bring out-of-this-world ratings, ESPN has decided to invite five FIFA presidential candidates to participate in a live, televised debate ahead of the February 26 elections.
There’s no question about it – this is sure to be 10 times more entertaining than all of the GOP and Democratic debates combined.
In a statement released last night, ESPN described its goal to provide a “forum for open, transparent discussion about the future governance of the sport in advance of the election that will determine who occupies the most powerful position in global football.” Given the fact that we – the loyal, dedicated fans – don’t really have a say in the matter (each FIFA member nation will have one vote in the election), we have a few questions: can we get Andrew Jennings to moderate? Or maybe Blatter himself, despite his ban from world fútbol a few days ago? Can we potentially turn this into a battle royal scenario? Can we throw recently retired Abby Wambach into the mix to get things going? El Piojo or Mourinho?
Regardless of the fact that our votes don’t count, we know one thing’s for sure: this is about to be nutty. Just look at the motley crew set to take the stage at the end of next month. There’s Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein, head of the Jordanian Football Federation (1999-today), FIFA Exco member (2011-15), and self-professed Arsenal fan; Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, member of the Bahraini royal family, head of Bahraini Football Association from 2002 to 2013, head of regional AFC since 2013, and a fervent Manchester United supporter, allegedly involved in a harsh clampdown on pro-democracy athletes in Bahrain; Tokyo Sexwale, member of FIFA Committee on Racism & Discrimination, Media Committee, and Monitoring Committee on Israel and Palestine; Gianni Infantino, henchman to former UEFA president Michel Platini and current General Secretary for the organization; and Jerome Champagne, former FIFA Deputy General Secretary, advisor to Blatter, Director of International Relations, fútbol consultant, and enemy of Platini, among other things.
When asked about the debate, Champagne stated the following: “I can tell you that ESPN proposed to the candidates a televised debate in London on January 29 and I have already expressed my agreement.” Are you in agreement too? Will you be tuning in on January 29? Hit us up in the comments section!