Two candidates, Dr. Ashebir Woldergiorgis and Tesfaye Kehessaye, have pulled out of the race to become the next Ethiopia Football Federation (EFF) president.
Ashebir, who is the current president of the Ethiopian Olympic Committee, withdrew Saturday hours before deadline for candidates to submit their names to the EFF electoral board.
In a presser, the ex-member of parliament and dental health doctor declared that the electoral process “will never be democratic.”
The former EFF president’s eligibility to challenge for the top seat has been at the center of controversy that has dogged the polls since last year leading to its postponement four times and attracting FIFA intervention.
Up-to last year, Ashebir was the president of the Ethiopian Basketball Federation before he resigned to return to football leadership. The move, however, ran into legal hurdles as it goes against EFF statutes.
He believes that his latest decision will be a solution to the persistent wrangles within Ethiopian football body.
He extended an apology to Southern Ethiopia Football Federation stakeholders, who endorsed his candidature.
According to sources, Ashebir lost the support of the regional football body due to his role in the repetitive postponement of the elections – leaving him with no option but abandon the race.
The same fate befell Tesfaye, who lost endorsement of Tigray and had to equally drop out of the race for the top seat.
Five candidates are now left to seek approval to wrestle the incumbent Juneidi Basha, who has since lost support of Dire Dawa City for the EFF president.
They are Eng. Tsedeke Yahune endorsed by Addis Ababa Football Federation, who is now being seen as the top challenger to Basha, Teka Assefaw from populous Amhara State, Oromia State’s Esayas Jira, who is the president of Jimma Aba Bunna FC and Chuol Biel form Gambella region.
More than 22 candidates will challenge for the EFF Executive Committee posts.
The EFF electoral board will announce the final list of candidates on 28th May before the elections scheduled for 3rd June in Semera.