WASHINGTON — This Allahabad-born Connecticut-Indian is reportedly set to be the new successor of the FIFA honcho Sepp Blatter.
55-year-old Indian-American Sunil Gulati, who is currently serving a record third term as President of the US Soccer Federation, could well be in the race to be the new FIFA chief.
Gulati, who has played a key role in the development of soccer in the US in the past few decades, has served as US Soccer's Executive Vice President from 2000 to 2006 before stepping into his role as its president.
"Gulati will be considered as 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.
"Fifa is more likely to give the top job to Loretta Lynch (the US Attorney General who brought down Blatter) than to Gulati, the head of US Soccer, right now, which is to say that no American will get anywhere near the Fifa presidency in the near future. Anti-Americanism runs high in world sports generally, and perhaps nowhere higher than inside Fifa," reported The Times of India.
In a statement, Gulati welcomed Blatter's resignation, which has been rocked by a major corruption scandal, resulting in the 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.
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.