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12-29-2017, 10:42 PM
GENEVA - Three men remain in contention to challenge Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency.FIFAs election oversight panel confirmed Monday that Blatter and three rivals Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, Michael van Praag of the Netherlands and former Portugal great Luis Figo are now being vetted to become formal candidates after the close of nominations.A potential fifth contender, former FIFA official Jerome Champagne, failed to secure the required five nominations. He said only three of FIFAs 209 member federations nominated him by last Thursdays deadline.The four contenders will now undergo integrity checks by FIFAs ethics committee, and have their nomination papers scrutinized by the oversight panel.The election panel expects to formally admit and declare the candidates who are eligible for the office of FIFA President in about two weeks.The election will be held May 29 at FIFAs congress in Zurich.Blatter, who will turn 79 before election day, is seeking a fifth term in office to extend his 17-year reign.The veteran Swiss official, who has worked for FIFA since 1975, is strongly favoured to win. UEFA, which has 53 voting members, is the only one among six continental bodies actively opposing Blatter.The campaign kicks off largely as Blatter vs. European interests.Prince Ali and Figo have been encouraged to run by UEFA and its president, Michel Platini, while Van Praag is a member of UEFAs executive committee.Champagne criticized Platini, who decided last August not to run against former mentor Blatter.The script of the next few weeks and months calls for proxy candidates to wage the battles that others did not have the courage to fight, said Champagne, whose departure as FIFA international relations director in 2010 was forced in part by Platini.Of the four contenders, only Van Praag has so far set out specific ideas.The 67-year-old Dutch federation president has called for expanding the 32-team World Cup to include more non-European teams, and has promised to serve just a single four-year term to modernize FIFA.Van Praag has asked Blatter to step aside and has offered him an advisory role, including running a charitable foundation to give less privileged children opportunities in football.Dutch great Johan Cruyff on Monday described former Ajax president Van Praag as somebody you can count on.In his column Monday in top-selling Dutch daily De Telegraaf, Cruyff wrote he is watching the FIFA presidential campaign from the sidelines, but if Van Praag asks for my support, hell get it.Four years ago, Blatter suggested Cruyff join a proposed council of FIFA advisers alongside Henry Kissinger and Placido Domingo. The idea was dropped.Prince Ali, the FIFA vice-president for Asia, is uncertain of widespread support in his home region. The Asian Football Confederation has long stated its support for Blatter.The prince is scheduled to host a campaign launch in London on Tuesday. Steve Grogan Jersey (http://www.shoptheofficialpatriots.com/Elite-Steve-Grogan-Patriots-Jersey/) . Hoffman, the former star closer, will evaluate and help co-ordinate all pitchers at Double-A, Triple-A and the big league team. Byrnes says Hoffman "will be a key part of finishing the development of our younger pitchers. Cassius Marsh Jersey (http://www.shoptheofficialpatriots.com/Elite-Cassius-Marsh-Patriots-Jersey/) . With the players association in the midst of meetings in Las Vegas, a vote will be held on Friday to decide the CFLPAs presidency and other executive positions. http://www.shoptheofficialpatriots.com/Elite-Devin-Mccourty-Patriots-Jersey/. PETERSBURG, Fla. 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It is expected to be to a 16-driver field whittled down through eliminations to four drivers and a winner-take-all season finale; it would be the fourth significant change to either the points or championship format since the Chase debuted in 2004. Edwards said drivers are already doing everything they can to win and the proposed changes that NASCAR chairman Brian France laid out two weeks ago wont change that. "I dont think you can take the top 15 guys in this sport and make them race any harder for wins. I dont think you can," Edwards said Tuesday. Its a sentiment shared by 2012 champion Brad Keselowski, who initially showed public support of the new format but is now reserving judgment until he sees exactly what NASCAR wants to do. France has been adamant he wants drivers to race at 100 per cent at all times and to value winning, and he preached most of last season that the frantic, door-banging battle to the checkered flag at California between Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano is the kind of racing he wants to see. "From a drivers perspective, theres nothing left," Keselowski said Wednesday. "Theres no set of rules to make me race harder than I do." Keselowski passed on a chance to move Kyle Busch out of the lead at Watkins Glen last August in what could have been a last-ditch effort to win the race. That victory would have likely ensured Keselowski a spot in the Chase; instead, he failed to qualify and was unable to defend his championship. Keselowski also doesnt think any changes will hurt six-time champion Jimmie Johnson. "No matter what format you put out there, hes the favourite," Keselowski said. "Until thats not the case, I dont see how theres any format that could be wrote, unless its the slowest guy wins, and I dont think theyre going to do that." Edwards said taking away the downforce on cars and making the tires softer is a good place to start. He said it would go a long way toward increasing competitive racing at the front of the pack. "No matter what format we race under I cant just try harder and go up and race with the guy or pass him," Edwards said.dddddddddddd. "I think the thing we have to focus on as a sport is making sure the cars can race one another. ... Right now, if Im staring at the guy in the front window it doesnt matter if (Im racing) for a billion dollars and 10 championships -- if I cant catch him, I cant catch him." Its not necessarily that Edwards is against the format. But he said if Frances proposals -- with the emphasis on winning races to get into the Chase for the Championship -- come to fruition, it will change the way drivers approach the season. "Things will get really, really interesting around Richmond. That will be insane," Edwards said. Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he wasnt excited about the proposed changes at first, but has begun to warm to the idea. "Lets change it all. Im all for it," Earnhardt said. "A lot of times we change things for the fans, and I think the drivers are going to enjoy some of this stuff as much as the fans are." Team owner Richard Petty said proposed changes are a "PR deal" by NASCAR designed to drum up more interest in the sport. He still thinks the best drivers will come out on top regardless of the format. "They just want to shake things up," Petty said. NASCAR is essentially borrowing a page from other major sports such as the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball where teams -- or in this case, drivers -- are eliminated from playoff contention while the season climaxes with one championship event at the end of the year. Earnhardt Jr. called it a "bold, aggressive" move by NASCAR. "When you look at other forms of sport, theres an elimination factor in the playoffs that we dont have," Earnhardt said. "We, as drivers, dont feel the intensity of an elimination factor being over our shoulders every race. I feel like weve had it easy in that regard where we just tally up points. Coming down to Homestead with four guys (racing for the championship), thats crazy -- but its exciting." However, driver Ryan Newman doesnt necessarily agree with the elimination-style system. "I dont think we can take everything the NFL or NBA is doing and say, We need to do it like this because theyre doing it like that and its working," Newman said. 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