November 16, 2015 / 9:22 AM / 2 years ago

Nakhid appeals ban from FIFA presidential race

The FIFA logo is seen outside their headquarters in Zurich October 8, 2015.Arnd Wiegmann

BERNE (Reuters) - Former Trinidad and Tobago international David Nakhid has appealed to global sport's highest tribunal over a decision to bar him from the race for the presidency of soccer's scandal-plagued governing body FIFA.

Under FIFA's electoral rules, Nakhid needed written backing from five national football associations to be eligible for the Feb. 26 election to replace Sepp Blatter.

He was barred from registering by FIFA's electoral committee last month because one association had signed letters of support for both Nakhid and a rival candidate.

On Monday, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said Nakhid had appealed to it against the ruling.

"Mr Nakhid seeks the annulment of the challenged decision and an order that his candidacy be reinstated," it said, adding no hearing date had been set.

Last week, FIFA's electoral committee said five candidates had passed integrity checks and been approved for the election.

They were Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, Asian Football Confederation President Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, former FIFA official Jerome Champagne of France, UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino of Switzerland and South Africa businessman Tokyo Sexwale.

Musa Bility, head of Liberia's Football Association, was ruled out after he failed an integrity check.

Nakhid's bid did not reach the integrity checks stage and there has never been any suggestion he has been involved in wrongdoing.

UEFA president Michel Platini, the original favourite to succeed Blatter, was not admitted because he has been suspended for 90 days pending an Ethics Committee investigation into his conduct. However, FIFA's electoral commission said it could review the decision if Platini wins an appeal against his suspension.

Buffeted by a series of scandals over the last few years, FIFA was thrown into turmoil in May by the U.S. indictments of 14 football officials, including two FIFA vice-presidents, and sports marketing executives for alleged corruption.

Blatter, also suspended for 90 days, is facing criminal investigation in Switzerland over a 2 million Swiss franc ($2.1 million) payment from FIFA to Platini. Both men have denied wrongdoing.

Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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