Nyon: The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) on Monday announced that it will support its Italian general secretary Gianni Infantino for the FIFA presidency.
The decision came after a meeting of the UEFA’s executive committee that consulted within Europe and with national federations from across the global football community.
“The forthcoming election for a new FIFA president represents a crucial moment in the governance of the game and the future of FIFA itself. We believe that Gianni Infantino has all of the qualities required to tackle the major challenges ahead and to lead the organisation on a path of reform to restore FIFA’s integrity and credibility, UEFA said in its website.
“Gianni has done a great job at UEFA, has a proven track record as a top class administrator and built positive relations with football stakeholders around the globe. He has been a long-time advocate of the need for change and renewed development at FIFA and would bring a refreshing and informed voice to the top table of football’s world governing body.
“We are delighted that Gianni has agreed to stand and he knows that he has our full support in his campaign to become FIFA president. He is in the process of submitting the required nominations and will issue a statement on his candidacy later today.”
However, it was not clear about the expected presidential bid from UEFA chief Michael Platini’s stand, currently under 90-day FIFA suspension. Platini maintains he will stand despite FIFA saying it cannot recognise its vice-president’s candidacy while his 90-day ban is in place.
Platini is expecting the appeals committee to resolve his appeal against the temporary sanction imposed by the disciplinary committee, while FIFA and the Swiss courts are investigating the payment of two million Swiss francs (around $2 million) by FIFA, whose president Sepp Blatter is also sanctioned.
To date, South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale, Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein of Jordan, former Trinidad and Tobago international David Nakhid, former Fifa deputy general secretary Jerome Champagne and Liberia FA president Musa Bility have said they have formally submitted their bids.
Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Brazilian football legend Zico are also expected to submit their candidacies before the deadline.