FIFA has asked three candidates to back South Africa’s Patrice Motsepe in the upcoming Confederation of African Football (Caf) presidential election, a source close to one of the candidates told AFP news agency.
The previous incumbent, Ahmad Ahmad, was banned for breaches of Fifa’s ethical code but has had the ban suspended by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
World body Fifa are keen for a fresh start in Africa, the source said.
Motsepe is a South African mining billionaire and owner of reigning domestic champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
According to the source, Augustin Senghor of Senegal and Ahmed Yahya of Mauritania are open to the idea of backing Motsepe and becoming vice-presidents themselves.
Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast would be offered a role as adviser to Motsepe.
“Motsepe is Fifa’s preferred candidate, they want someone new and not implicated in the former presidency,” the source said.
“They want a better image so they can attract investors and sponsors.”
Fifa have yet to reply to AFP’s request for comments.
The Caf presidential election is scheduled to be held in Rabat, Morocco, on 12 March.
Fouzi Lekjaa, the president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF), is believed to have brokered the accord uniting the contenders.
He recently invited the four candidates and encouraged them to pledge unity instead of further widening divisions triggered by the battle for votes.
Lekjaa himself is eyeing a position on the all-powerful Fifa Council, whose elections will be held at the same Caf general assembly in Morocco on 12 March.
This then appears like a well-planned electoral pact that will clear the path for Lekjaa to the politburo of world football’s global governing body, with Motsepe landing the most powerful post in African sport.