FIFA is electing a new president amid a backdrop of suspensions and criminal investigations
CNN  — 

Before the day is out, FIFA will have a new president. Follow all the action from the FIFA Congress with a sideways slant in our live blog. Refresh for latest updates.

18:16 CET Thank you readers, and good night.

1815 CET That’s all from us on the live blog. Get the full – decidedly more serious – story here.

1813 CET: Hugs all round for Infantino, who is grinning like a Cheshire cat who has just been fed.

1805 CET: Gianni Infantino: “I cannot express my feelings in this moment. I told you I went through an exceptional journey which made me meet many fantastic people, who love football. Many people who deserve that FIFA is highly respected. We will restore the image of FIFA and the respect of FIFA. And everyone will applaud us for what we will do for FIFA.”

Ladies and gentlemen, your new FIFA president

1803 CET: Here is the breakdown of round two:

  • Gianni Infantino - 115
  • Sheikh Salman - 88


1759 CET: The votes have been counted and the results are imminent. Will we be saved from round three?!

1756 CET: That’s the spirit Alex Thomas!

1754 CET: Things are hotting up in Zurich. And everyone on Twitter is trying to read something BIG into the smallest things…

1747 CET: Counting continues on the top table. And here’s CNN’s Harry Reekie with some important admin details…

Is it about to be second time lucky for Gianni Infantino?

1734 CET: Tahiti and Trinidad & Tobago are in the booth – we aren’t far away from the end of round two.

1728 CET: CNN’s Amanda Davies has the inside track – could we be about 20 minutes away from crowning a new FIFA president? Let’s all hope so – I don’t think anyone can stomach another round of voting.

1718 CET: Let’s continue the EPL theme and test your knowledge of England’s top flight. Here are 10 teasers about one of the world’s best competitions…

1710 CET: On the subject of hair, we caught up with Nasri’s teammate Joe Hart recently, to talk about some of the best barnet’s in soccer history. Take a look…

02:20 - Source: CNN
Keeper rates soccer's craziest hairstyles

1702 CET: While we wait for the voting to conclude, here’s an important English Premier League hair update. Man City’s French midfielder Samir Nasri has a new do. What do you think?

1657 CET: We are only up to Iraq in round two’s voting I’m afraid. The hall in Zurich is abuzz with chatter and two lines continue to be repopulated behind each voting booth. Speculation is rife on social media as to how the votes from Champagne and Prince Ali will be distributed…

1635 CET: As CNN contributor Piers Edwards points out, Prince Ali was always expected to have a fall in votes compared to the June election when he was the only challenger to Blatter…

1631 CET: This is definitely where FIFA could speed up the process. Even though Champagne and Prince Ali got 34 votes between them and clearly won’t win, they both still go through to the second round of voting.

The first round of voting has been completed. Onto round two...

1610 CET: So, an interesting split of votes which pretty much confirms the new president will be either Sheikh Salman or Gianni Infantino. The latter secured more votes in round one, but how will the other votes be reassigned when we go into round two? Get ready for some more funky lift music…

1608 CET: Right, we are ready to go. Out of 207 votes here’s how the first round breaks down:

  • Prince Ali - 27
  • Sheikh Salman - 85
  • Champagne - 7
  • Infantino - 88
Here come the votes...

1600 CET: For anyone watching the live stream of the FIFA election online, this funky lift music must be dragging them towards their wits end by now.

1552 CET: There are a gaggle of men in sharp suits counting votes as we speak. Remember, if no man gets two thirds of the votes in this first round we’ll have to do this all over again.

Respect your selfie: Gianni Infantino poses for a picture

1534 CET: A measure of how hard the next FIFA president is going to have to work to restore trust comes with the results of a poll conducted by Forza Football and Transparency International. They spoke to 25,000 people and asked “Which of the candidates would you like to see as president?” Gianni Infantino came top with 19% while a whopping 60% said none of the above.

1529 CET: While the voting rolls on, here’s another reminder of the five (now four after Tokyo Sexwale dropped out) looking to be crowned El Presidente…

1514 CET: We’ve been scouring social media to see if anyone has announced their voting intentions. Here is the chat from the United States, with more countries to follow…

1508 CET: Fear not, Zimbabwe! There will in fact be an end to the voting … eventually. There will have to be – the venue is being transformed into an ice rink at midnight tonight.

1455 CET: Back in the hall, we are now up to the dizzy heights of the Maldives. Wow. Of all FIFA’s 209 member states I bet that’d score highly if you polled people on their fave holiday destination…

South Africa's Tokyo Sexwale brings his formidable oratory to the FIFA Congress

1441 CET: Think things are bad at FIFA? You’re right. But they could be worse (depending on your opinion, of course)…

1433 CET: I wonder what the delegate from Zimbabwe is doing? He’s probably got time to head back home and watch a bit of tele before it is his time to shine. Some more great reading from CNN while we wait - what if we had a woman in charge at FIFA?

The voting is off and running in Zurich...

1420 CET: “Prepare for voting, Curacao.” Yep, we’re still only on the C’s…

1408 CET: In the meantime, why not take a trip down memory lane with this piece on some of former president Sepp Blatter’s most infamous utterances…

1404 CET: We are only up to Belarus in the voting stakes. Belgium and Botswana are next. This could take a while…

1354 CET: It’s just like your everyday talent show … only the future of football is stake. Imagine you wield the decisive voting slip – who has the X-Factor?

1350 CET: Now, time to talk turkey because the voting is about to begin. Be warned, it will take a while. If anyone gets two thirds of the votes in the first round, they will be elected president. If not, we continue to a second round, where 50% of the vote is required to win. If not, we go on eliminating the person with the fewest votes until two men remain standing. Hold onto your hats.

1345 CET: BREAKING NEWS: Sexwale gets to the end and announces he is pulling out of the race. “It’s your problem now,” he says. Before that he said there would be a “party” if any of his four rivals was elected, before adding: “Of course, if I were president it would be an even bigger party!” And with that, he is off.

1343 CET: Sexwale is by far the most entertaining of the candidates. He’s even revealed a 4-4-2 for the future! It includes the typical football formation but instead of players’ names, things like “anti-racism” and “better governance” and “restore integrity” are written. That’s genuinely brilliant.

FIFA presidential contender Gianni Infantino addresses delegates in Zurich

1331 CET: Last but not least – how could you be least with a name like this?! – is South African Tokyo Sexwale. He addresses claims he would withdraw from the race immediately: “I’m a soldier, I die with my boots on.”

1325 CET: Back in the hall in Zurich, Infantino goes round the continents to implore them to vote for him before touching on how revenues have gone up at UEFA during his time in charge. He says to the delegates: “It is your money.” That gets a round of applause.

1319 CET: I mentioned the Europa League draw, and how about this for a last 16 fixture?! #tasty Another standout tie sees Borussia Dortmund play Tottenham. Thursday nights just got interesting.

Jerome Champagne addresses FIFA's Congress at Hallenstadion in Zurich

1315 CET: Champagne insists that FIFA “must stay united and make further and more substantial reforms.” Now it is the turn of Gianni Infantino, who is being missed in his role as the regular host of the Europa League draw, which is also taking place today.

1305 CET: Salman gets a warm ovation after his speech, now it is the turn of Jerome Champagne. While the Frenchman speaks, here’s a suggestion for how to choose a new president from one of our own at CNN…

1256 CET: Sheikh Salman earns applause by saying he will speak from “the heart, not from a piece of paper.” He is the front-runner after all…

1252 CET: “I’m the only candidate for football in all its forms, all over the world. I will heal the rifts in our governing body,” says Prince Ali as his 15-minute slot comes to an end. There is actually a clock behind the speakers counting down their time. I hope they have timed them accurately. Next up, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa…

1243 CET: Congress is back in action and things are about to get real. Each of the five presidential candidates now get 15 minutes to convince the delegates why they should bag the top job. First up, Prince Ali from Jordan. “Today you can reclaim your FIFA,” he says.

1230 CET: How about this chap’s genius suggestion for FIFA? I think it’s a cracking idea. Why not tweet us at @cnnsport with your suggestions, the wackier and more implausible the better…

1224 CET: FIFA is an easy target at present, with every man, woman and dog seemingly having a pop. Step forward comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who said this to CNN at the premiere of his new film Grimsby…

00:41 - Source: CNN
Sacha Baron Cohen's cheeky message for FIFA

1215 CET: Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil is on course to break the EPL’s record for assists this season, and he could have another BIG one to add to his tally by the end of play today…

1206 CET: Prior to the big election, FIFA has passed a raft of reforms before retiring for an early lunch (hard work this Congressing lark). They include the following:

  • A 12-year maximum term limit for President
  • Human rights built into FIFA statute
  • Full disclosure of FIFA salaries
  • Separation of political and management functions
  • Recognition and promotion of the women’s game

1158 CET: FIFA’s big day has already suffered a minor hitch….

1152 CET: Some housekeeping: voting in the presidential election is due to begin around 1430 CET, after each presidential candidate gets their 15 minutes to address the delegates and make a final plea for votes from 1300 CET onwards. We should have a new president by 1800 CET.

1148 CET: So, who are the five guys jostling for the top job? Let CNN’s James Masters explain…

1135 CET: Even though Blatter is banned from attending the Congress, the Swiss won’t go away quietly though. Currently the subject of a criminal investigation over an alleged payment to UEFA president Michel Platini – the pair are both serving a six-year ban from football – Blatter scoffed at a suggestion he might turn whistle blower: “I would not accept such an offer because I am not a referee,” he told the Aargauer Zeitung newspaper. Very droll, Sepp.

Sepp Blatter's association with FIFA will end today after a new president is chosen

1132 CET: By the end of the day Sepp Blatter’s 18-year reign as head of soccer’s governing body will be over. He announced he’d be stepping down in June, remember? That was a few, eventful, days after he’d been re-elected amidst a string of arrests as Swiss prosecutors and the U.S. Department of Justice bared their teeth.

1130 CET: Hello everyone, and welcome to what might be a pivotal day in the history of football as FIFA elects a new president. Well, it could be pivotal. Or it could just be a portal into a world that looks exactly the same.