ZURICH — Not so fast, would-be FIFA presidential candidates.
FIFA's election overseer urged caution on Friday before regarding applicants for the May 29 ballot as official candidates.
In a statement released by FIFA, compliance chairman Domenico Scala said his three-man panel overseeing the election rules has not even begun its work before next week's deadline for applications.
"We have to consider that it will take some time until the (panel) will be in a position to announce the candidates," Scala said.
"Thus, we really cannot comment, regardless of whether any prospective candidate declares that he/she meets the requirements by the deadline," said the Swiss former pharmaceutical industry executive.
Scala did not identify former France player David Ginola and former FIFA international relations director Jerome Champagne by name.
However, those would-be candidates must gather nominations from five of 209 member federations by Thursday.
It is also unclear if they fulfil a key election rule of having held "active roles" in football for two years since 2010.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter and FIFA vice president Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein of Jordan also intend to stand in the May 29 election.
Also read: FIFA candidate facing fight to stay in race
Blatter and Prince Ali risk being reported for unethical behavior if they breach election rules on conflicts of interest and campaign funding by using their official positions as a platform to seek votes.
All candidates must also be subject to an integrity check by the FIFA ethics committee investigatory chamber. That group is being run by Swiss former prosecutor Cornel Borbely after lead prosecutor Michael Garcia resigned in protest last month
Scala said his panel can assess each applicant's eligibility only after receiving the integrity check within 10 days.
Paperwork confirming the nominations from individual member associations could also take time to arrive after the Jan. 29 deadline, Scala said.
"It is impossible for the (panel) to confirm anybody prior to having assessed the proposed candidates," he said.
Scala's panel colleagues are FIFA disciplinary committee chairman Claudio Sulser of Switzerland, and appeals committee chairman Larry Mussenden of Bermuda.
They must recuse themselves when dealing with a candidate of their own nationality.For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.