On Friday, representatives of each country included in FIFA will cast their vote to determine who will lead FIFA's governing body forward following its most recent scandal. If Sepp Blatter is once again elected as President of FIFA despite many close to him being accused of corruption and other offences it will not come as much of a surprise to those who have observed the organization in recent years.
While a week ago it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Blatter would once again be named president of FIFA the recent arrests of several important figures, including the President of CONCACAF Jeffrey Webb, have caused a shift in the potential outcome.
It seemed like it would yet again be a comfortable victory for Blatter when both Michael van Praag and Luis Figo pulled their names from the running citing the fact that they did not wish to take part in such a corrupt process. Their withdrawals from the race meant that the only man left standing in opposition of Blatter is Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein. Even with the anti-Blatter vote being unified behind Prince Ali it remained a very long shot that he would win the election.
In the end, Blatter may still win as he continues to hold great sway over several regions which may just be enough to secure him the votes that he needs. If he does win though it will be without the backing of some of the World's most influential nations. It is a list that has grown of the course of the day with several countries confirming that they will be voting for Prince Ali on Friday.
The list includes the likes of Australia, and the United States, and even Canada. According to the Canadian Press, Victor Montagliani will cast his ballot for Prince Ali on Friday. The decision to vote against Blatter was made on Thursday at a meeting of the Canadian Soccer Association board and will now be carried out by the CSA's President in Zurich.
For the CSA the choice to vote against Blatter is about more than just a change at the very top of FIFA but about sending the message that reform is needed. Montagliani will have a part to play in that reform closer to home as he was named to a special CONCACAF committee that will be tasked with helping move the federation forward following this scandal.
The decision to vote against Blatter is the right one for the CSA to make but it is not a decision that they will have made lightly. If Blatter does wind up winning the election their choice to vote against him could prove costly to the potential 2026 World Cup bid. It is unlikely that Blatter and his supporters will look favourably on nations like Canada and the United States for their decision to speak up against the President and cast their vote for his opponent. It could wind up costing both nations their chance to host the next available World Cup.
It is a price that seems to be worth paying for the CSA though as it is quite clear that some kind of radical change needs to take place within FIFA and the only way that such change is going to happen is if more of the World's most influential nations take a public stand against corruption and the man who has seemingly allowed it to take hold.
Blatter may win another term on Friday and FIFA may continue down its current path but it is good to see the CSA at least saying the right things in the wake of these recent scandals. If they truly want to do what is best for the game though they will have to do a lot more that just cast a vote for Prince Ali tomorrow.
For now though, a vote for Prince Ali is a good first step in the right direction.