Sunday 23 October 2016

UEFA's Infantino now a candidate

UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino
UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino

UEFA's general secretary Gianni Infantino has said he will stand on a platform to reform FIFA after announcing he will run for the presidency of the world governing body.

Infantino, Michel Platini's right-hand man for the last six years, has received the unanimous backing of UEFA's executive committee.

Platini has also submitted his candidacy for the election but is currently banned for 90 days pending a disciplinary hearing into a £1.3million payment signed off by outgoing president Sepp Blatter in 2011.

An emergency meeting of UEFA's executive committee took place via teleconference yesterday. Infantino, who is understood to have held talks with senior figures in the Asian confederation about standing, could step down if Platini is cleared of all charges, but otherwise would be a strong candidate in his own right.

Infantino said: "I can confirm that following the decision of the UEFA executive committee, I have today submitted my candidature, with the required declarations of support, to become the next FIFA president.

"I will in due course be setting out my detailed thinking in a manifesto which will address the challenges and opportunities ahead. It will be based on the need for reform."

A statement from UEFA's executive committee, which did not mention Platini at all, said: "We believe that Gianni Infantino has all of the qualities required to tackle the major challenges ahead and to lead the organisation (FIFA)."

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