Camara elected to FIFA council after opponents unexpectedly withdraw

CAIRO (Reuters) - Almamy Kabele Camara of Guinea has been elected unopposed to the council of FIFA, a week before African elections for the post were to be held, after both his rivals pulled out hours before FIFA announced the results of background investigations on prospective candidates.

Camara was one of three candidates for two places in the open category of the African elections, which also have other categories for the continent’s various language groups.

But both Danny Jordaan, president of the South African Football Association, and Chabur Goc Alei of South Sudan withdrew without explanation. That leaves a vacancy that will be filled by a supplementary election, officials said on Tuesday.

If either Jordaan or Alei had stayed in the race, he would also have been elected unopposed to the council of world football’s governing body. Attempts to contact both on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

The Confederation of African Football and FIFA were notified of their withdrawals on Monday, just hours before FIFA announced that the 10 candidates in the race had all passed integrity checks.

Camara will now fill one of the seven seats reserved for Africa on the FIFA council. Lydia Nsekera of Burundi is guaranteed another as the continent’s female representative. The other five will be determined by elections at the CFA’s congress in Addis Ababa on March 16.

Former African Footballer of the Year Kalusha Bwalya of Zamba had already pulled out at the weekend as campaigning continued in the most animated CAF election for decades.

Long-standing CAF President Issa Hayatou faces a challenge from Madagascar’s Ahmad, who uses just one name, for the organisation’s presidency and an automatic place on the FIFA council.

Africa’s other FIFA council seats will be determined by races in three language categories – Arabic, English and French. Two candidates are contending for a single place in each category.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Larry King)