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The favorite for FIFA president is worse than Sepp Blatter

Better the devil you know than the devil you don't.

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Prince Ali of Jordan and Tokyo Sexwale of South Africa made their final appeals to voters for FIFA president on Thursday, but most voters from both men's confederations are expected to vote for Sheikh Salman of Bahrain.

He's the favorite heading into the election, which looks like bad news. Though, some think his election would accelerate FIFA's implosion, which would be a good thing.

Salman is accused of being part of a cash-for-votes scandal in a previous election he ran in and won. He's also been criticized on his human rights record repeatedly due to the imprisonment and torture of both peaceful protesters and athletes in his native Bahrain, where he's a member of the ruling family. Salman has denied all involvement with these issues and has not been charged with any crimes. He also hasn't condemned his family members.

Whether Salman or someone else wins, FIFA has already whipped up some PR statements for them. Expect to hear a lot of nonsense about how FIFA is an ethical organization with a few bad apples that have already been tossed out.

Goal of the day

This 35-yard free kick by Luis Carlos Arias of Medellín. (r/soccer)

In the news

Javier Mascherano says Barcelona knew Arsenal would fall apart. (ESPN FC)

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is undergoing a scan on his ankle. (Guardian)

Jozy Altidore could miss the MLS season opener with a hamstring injury. (MLS)

An Afghan boy who was photographed with a makeshift Lionel Messi shirt made out of a plastic bag got a real one. (BBC)

Check out the renderings of Minnesota United's new stadium. (SI)

Even cooler: these pictures of Daniel Sturridge's car. (Mirror)

You should be reading

Rebecca Ruiz on FIFA's museum and real estate business. (New York Times)

Tom Guerriero-Davies on Luís Figo's time at Inter. (The Gentlemen Ultra)

Tim Vickery on the emerging stars of this year's Copa Libertadores. (ESPN FC)

What happened on Wednesday

Manchester City had little problem winning in Kiev.

Atlético Madrid couldn't score against PSV. (Into The Calderon)

And LA Galaxy couldn't score against Santos Laguna. (LAG Confidential)

RSL lost and failed to get an away goal against Tigres. (RSL Soapbox)

What to watch on Thursday (click for listings, all times ET)

Europa League: 16 games (from 11 a.m.) -- It's tough to pick out must-watch games from each time slot. They're all good. Seriously.


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