RECAP: 12:15 p.m. EST — Gianni Infantino was named FIFA’s next president Friday, edging out second-place finisher Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa in an election held in Zurich. Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein and Jerome Champagne finished a distant third and fourth, respectively.

Infantino, who had previously served as general secretary of Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), will take over for banned former President Sepp Blatter at the top of soccer’s governing body .

“I cannot express my feelings in this moment,” Infantino said in his acceptance speech. “I told you I went through an exceptional journey, which made me meet many fantastic people, who live and breathe football, and many people deserve to see  FIFA is highly respected. Everyone in the world will applaud us for what we will do. Everyone will be proud of what we will do.”

Infantino's term as president runs through 2019.



It took two rounds to decide a winner Friday, following a first round in which no candidate received the two-thirds majority needed to win. But in the second round — during which a candidate needed only to garner a simple majority of at least 104 votes to win — Infantino earned 115 votes, edging out Sheikh Salman who garnered 88. In the second round, Prince Ali took four votes and Champagne, none.

In the lead up to the election Infantino had proposed instituting term limits for senior FIFA officials and expanding the World Cup to 40 nations from 32. Heading into Friday many considered Sheikh Salman, Asian Football Confederation president and FIFA vice president, to be the favorite.

Blatter had led FIFA since 1998. Amid sweeping charges of corruption against a number of FIFA officials, Blatter stepped down last year and was later banned — alongside former UEFA boss Michel Platini — from world soccer for six years.

UPDATE: 12:01 p.m. EST — UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino has won FIFA’s presidential election by earning 115 votes in the second round of voting, edging out Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa. Sheikh Salman finished second with 88 votes.

UPDATE: 11:41 a.m. EST — The second round of voting in FIFA’s presidential election in Zurich has come to a close. A reminder a candidate has to earn a simple majority — or at least 104 votes — to win in the second round. 

The first round ended with Gianni Infantino receiving 88 votes, followed by Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa (85 votes), Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein (27 votes) and Jerome Champagne (7 votes). The votes are set to be counted and results announced soon after.

Should no candidate garner at least 104 votes, the lowest-polling candidate would be dropped from the ballot for a third round.  

UPDATE: 11:21 a.m. EST — The second round of voting of FIFA’s presidential election Friday has moved along at a seemingly faster clip than the first round. Top candidates Gianni Infantino and Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa are fighting to secure the 104 votes, or a simple majority, to win in round two. Neither secured the two-thirds majority necessary to win in round one. 

The voting moves in alphabetical order, each of the 207 nations called one-by-one, and had progressed to Qatar. Infantino led with 88 votes in round one, followed by Sheikh Salman (85 votes), Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein (27 votes) and Jerome Champagne (7 votes). 

UPDATE: 10:53 a.m. EST — The results of the first round of voting in FIFA’s presidential election Friday were considered surprising, as the consensus front-runner Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa finished a close second to Gianni Infantino. Neither candidate, however, secured enough votes for the two-thirds majority needed to win in the first round.

The election in Zurich is headed to a second round of voting for the first time since 1974, the Guardian reported. The second round of voting — during which each of the 207 eligible member associations vote in alphabetical order — is still in the early stages, as Brazil has just been called to the voting booth. 

UPDATE: 10:15 a.m. EST — Confirming what many had expected, no candidate in FIFA’s presidential election earned enough votes to win in the first round of voting, which requires a two-thirds majority. UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino garnered the most votes, 88 of 207.

Asian Football Confederation President and FIFA Vice President Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa finished a close second behind Infantino with 85 votes. Neither Infatino nor Sheikh Salman came close, however, to the 138 votes necessary to win in round one. Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of the Jordan Football Association and former FIFA executive Jerome Champagne finished third and fourth, respectively.

The 207 eligible member associations will now carry out a second round of voting. To win in the second round, a candidate must earn a simple majority, meaning more than 103 votes. 

UPDATE: 9:45 a.m. EST — The first round of voting has been completed. A candidate will have to earn two-thirds of the votes to win in the first round.

UPDATE: 9:27 a.m. EST — For those curious about what the voting booth looks like, embedded below are few photos of the process as FIFA elects its next boss. 

algeria voting FIFA's member of Algeria (left) votes during the FIFA electoral congress, Feb. 26, 2016, in Zurich. Photo: Getty Images/AFP/Olivier Morin

voting fifa Delegates vote for a new FIFA president during the extraordinary FIFA Congress at the headquarters of the world’s governing body of football in Zurich, Feb. 26, 2016. Photo: Getty Images/AFP/Fabrice Coffrini

voting1 A delegate votes for a new FIFA president during the extraordinary FIFA Congress at the headquarters of the world’s governing body of football in Zurich, Feb. 26, 2016. Photo: Getty Images/AFP/Fabrice Coffrini

UPDATE: 9:10 a.m. EST — The first round of the voting process for FIFA’s next president has, with any luck, crossed the halfway point. Because each member association is called up individually to vote, the process can be a lengthy one.

It was expected heading into Friday that there would be at least two rounds of voting, most pundits believing no candidate had secured the two-thirds majority needed to win in the first round.

Original story:

As the voting was set to begin in Zurich Friday to select FIFA’s next president — replacing banned boss Sepp Blatter — the field thinned from five men to four. South African businessman Tokyo Sexwale, already a long shot candidate, dropped out at the 11th hour while making his final speech before voting was set to take place.

Sexwale said his “candidacy ends today. I end my participation, I leave you four candidates. ... It’s your problem now,” the Guardian reported.

The four remaining candidates are as follows:

  • Gianni Infantino, 45, Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) general-secretary
  • Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa, 50, Asian Football Confederation president and FIFA vice president
  • Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, 40, president of Jordan Football Association
  • Jerome Champagne, 57, former FIFA executive and adviser to Blatter

Heading into Friday, Sheikh Salman and Infantino were considered the favorites. The voting process began shortly after 8 a.m. Friday. Each of the eligible 207 member states of FIFA are allowed a single vote. For a candidate to win in the first round of voting, he must receive more than two-thirds of the votes. Heading into Friday it was widely expected no candidate had secured enough votes to win in the first round.

If no victor emerges after the first round, then a candidate has to earn a simple majority to win in the second round of voting. Should a third round be necessary, the candidate who earned the fewest votes would be eliminated.

Earlier in the day, FIFA passed a set of reforms aimed at preventing corruption following a year in which soccer's governing body saw two rounds of indictments brought against officials.