Washington: Indian American Sunil Gulati, who is currently serving a record third term as President of the US Soccer Federation, could be in the race to replace Sepp Blatter as the new FIFA chief.
Various US media outlets said Allahabad-born Gulati, 55, who has played a key role in the development of football in the United States in the past few decades, could be a potentially strong contender to replace Blatter, should the US have an interest in the position of FIFA chief. “Gulati, 55, will be considered a candidate to replace Blatter should the American have interest in the position,” NBC Sports said.
Blatter was re-elected only four days ago but resigned after a corruption scandal implicated some top FIFA officials. In a statement, Gulati welcomed the resignation of Blatter as president of FIFA, which has been rocked by a major corruption scandal, resulting in arrest of more than 10 top football officials both in the US and Zurich.
“I commend him for making a decision that puts FIFA and the sport we love above all other interests. This is the first of many steps towards real and meaningful reform within FIFA. Today is an occasion for optimism and belief for everyone who shares a passion for our game,” Gulati said in a statement.
In the elections for FIFA president, Gulati had backed Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein. Gulati and US have been opposed to Blatter. Detroit Free Press Journal said, Gulati is in a strong position to gain support within the CONCACAF confederation that governs soccer in America and the Caribbean.
A native of Allahabad, Gulati has played a role in the development of US Soccer since the early 1980’s and has been intimately involved in the rise of the US team to prominence. He served as US Soccer’s Executive Vice President from 2000 to 2006 before stepping into his role as President.
Gulati, who has worked for the World Bank too, is an alum of Cheshire High School in Cheshire, Connecticut. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Bucknell University and earned his M. A. and M. Phil. in economics at Columbia University.
(With inputs from PTI)