FIFA presidential hopeful Gianni Infantino has offered his backing to Michel Platini as the banned UEFA chief seeks to clear his name.
Platini, 60, withdrew from the race to succeed Sepp Blatter as the head of world football’s governing body on Wednesday to continue his fight against an eight-year ban from the sport.
Both Platini and Blatter were handed the lengthy suspensions as a result of a “disloyal payment” made by the Swiss to the Frenchman in 2011, though both have persistently denied any wrongdoing.
UEFA general secretary Infantino, who is now clear to run for FIFA’s top job after previously stating he would not campaign if Platini remained in the race, has lent his support to the former France international’s efforts.
“I fully respect and understand Michel Platini’s decision,” he said on Friday.
“I wish him all the best in his efforts to clear his name as soon as possible and I reiterate my support for his right to a due process.”
Infantino said the backing he has received for his own FIFA campaign has given him encouragement ahead of February’s elections.
“I have been further gratified and encouraged by the support I have received from the many football people I met all over the world during my campaign,” he added.
“I am conscious of my responsibility to them and to all of those who love our game. I look forward to building together with them the FIFA that they want to see, a FIFA with football at its heart.”
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