Free Press Journal

No deals among FIFA presidential candidates: Infantino


UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino asks the audience for silence before the draw for the play-off matches for UEFA Euro 2016 at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, October 18, 2015. The draw will define the four pairings as well as the order of the home-and-away ties. The first legs will be played between 12 and 14 November and the return legs between 15 and 17 November in line with the Week of Football match pattern. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Geneva: Gianni Infantino, a Swiss lawyer and a candidate for FIFA presidency, said on Sunday this is not the time for deals ahead of Friday’s vote of 209 federations.

The 45-year-old Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) executive said there would be no deals among the candidates. He was responding to a question whether he might consider a deal with his main opponent — Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa of the Bahrain, reports Xinhua.

“There is no question of that. A democratic election is fundamental for the credibility of FIFA as an institution,” Infantino said.

The scandal-hit FIFA has seen senior executives, including long-time president Sepp Blatter and UEFA head Michel Platini, suspended or fired. Infantino noted that “FIFA must be headed by a president legitimised through an election”.

“A couple of months ago, I was not even thinking about launching into this adventure. But football is going through a difficult period. Some people therefore must step up and take their responsibility,” he said.

Besides Salman and Infantino, the FIFA presidential race is also joined by South African businessman Tokyo Sexwale, former FIFA vice-president Jordan’s Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, and former FIFA official Jerome Champagne of France.

Infantino, who worked closely with Platini for nine years, also expressed “admiration for the dignity with which (he) has gone through this ordeal. He is concentrating on his defence and me, on my campaign”.