Gianni Infantino has labelled the coming week the most significant in the history of FIFA as he bids to rally a final wave of support ahead of Friday’s presidential election.
The UEFA general secretary has earned the backing of a number of member associations, primarily from Europe and the Americas, and is seen as the leading contender to challenge favourite Sheikh Salman to succeed Sepp Blatter in football’s top job.
Infantino has issued a statement to underline his credentials as the right candidate to restore integrity to the organisation following the damning corruption investigations over the past year, and says FIFA is at a crossroads in its existence.
“This coming week is the most significant in FIFA’s 112-year history and the 209 member associations have the ability to define not just their own destiny, but also that of FIFA and global football,” he said.
“The selection of FIFA’s next president and a vote to agree wide-ranging governance reforms can set FIFA on a new path of trust, respect and commercial growth.
“To set foot on this path of renewal FIFA’s member associations have the opportunity to embrace the future with a real belief in their next president and a confidence in his ability to steer the organisation and its members into much better times.
“I believe I am that person – a candidate of genuine reform, rooted in integrity with a real vision for the future – and with proven experience to bring growth and development to the benefit the whole football family.
“By the end of this week we will know whether FIFA has taken a full step towards reform, greater transparency and a new era for the world’s most played and watched sport.
“A huge amount is at stake and, after travelling the world meeting with Associations from every part of the globe, I know that football is ready to look forward with determination and confidence. I would be proud if elected president on Friday to help steer FIFA into a new era of growth, investment and respect, acting always in the interests of football, bringing football back to the heart of FIFA.
“I am entering these final days of the campaign with a real sense of momentum for a new beginning and optimism for the election and for the future. This is truly a crossroads moment for football’s world governing body.”