Fifa
Who will challenge for top spot in Fifa?Getty

The five candidates hoping to dethrone Sepp Blatter as president of Fifa have until the end of the day to officially enter the race.

Exactly four months ahead of May's elections, Thursday 29 February is the final day for the 209 Fifa member associations to throw their backing behind the would-be presidential candidates. Those challengers need to the support of five of those associations for their bid to be ratified.

Somewhat similar to the transfer window, tonight's 11pm (GMT) deadline makes allowances for paperwork arriving in Zurich late, but all relevant documents will need to carry the postmark confirming that the submission was made within the deadline

With that deadline looming, IBTimes UK looks at the five contenders looking to usurp Blatter and whether they will be able to challenge in May's elections.

Jerome Champagne

Jero Champagne
Jerome Champagne 11-year association with the current regime has raised scepticismReuters

While Champagne's 11-year association with the current regime has raised scepticism – he served as Fifa's deputy secretary general between 1999 and 2010 and was the campaign manager behind Blatter's 2002 presidential victory – his understanding of the organisations infrastructure and his connections within it will strengthen any bid.

But as of this week, the former French diplomat was yet to get the backing of five Fifa nations, but recently told reporters in Brussels he is 'close' to doing just that.

Luis Figo

Luis Figo
Former Portugal international, Luis Figo has more going for him than a glittering playing careerGetty

The 2000 Ballon d'Or winner confirmed on Wednesday he was throwing his hat in the ring and promptly told CNN he has the support of five associations, although he declined to name them. He is the glamour name in the running, but the former Portugal international has more going for him than a glittering playing career.

Post-retirement, he has grown into an esteemed football administrator having served on the Uefa Football Committee since 2011, and remains a respected figure across Europe - except maybe in Barcelona.

Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein

Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein Of Jordan
Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan is still struggling to secure the backing of his own Asia federationReuters

Prince Ali has been the most vocal critic while Fifa have plunged to new levels of unpopularity. The Jordanian prince has already secured the influential backing of Uefa president Michael Platini, with the Guardian also reporting the English FA are also set to throw their support behind him.

But the 39-year-old is still struggling to secure the backing of his own Asia federation, where he has served as Vice President since 2011.

Michael van Praag

Michael van Praag, president of the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), places flowers on the pitch of club Buitenboys to commemorate Richard Nieuwenhuizen (Reuters)
Michael van Praag, president of the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), places flowers on the pitch of club Buitenboys to commemorate Richard NieuwenhuizenReuters

The current president of the Dutch FA announced his intentions early this week and saved himself a nervous wait until the deadline. The former Ajax president has confirmed he already has the backing of the five associations who have already sent their recommendations to Fifa headquarters in Zurich.

Praag's supporters include his country's own FA, Belgium, Sweden and Scotland, who confirmed their backing of the Dutchman on Wednesday.

David Ginola

David Ginola: Fifa member associations interested in supporting bid to oust Sepp Blatter
David Ginola's mandate for transparency and equality is all well and good, but he's struggling to get the backing he needs.

With bookmakers Paddy Power driving his campaign, it is no surprise David Ginola's campaign has failed to be taken seriously. The former Newcastle United and Tottenham winger announced his campaign two weeks before Thursday's deadline, and while Paddy Power assured IBTimes UK the bid has the necessary weight to meet Fifa's eligibility requirements, there is little evidence of it yet.

His mandate for transparency and equality is all well and good, but the Frenchman is struggling to get the backing his bid needs.