Defeated FIFA presidential candidate Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa has offered his backing to Gianni Infantino after the Swiss triumphed at Friday’s election in Zurich.
Sheikh Salman was the favourite heading into the vote but lost to Infantino in the second round by 88 votes to 115.
Infantino, who became UEFA general secretary in 2009 having worked for European football’s governing body since 2000, sprung a surprise in the first round as he bested Sheikh Salman by 88 to 85, necessitating a second ballot where a simple majority of 104 was required for victory.
Speaking in his role as president of the Asian Football Confederation, Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman said in a statement: “The AFC looks forward to working with the new-look FIFA and its new president Gianni Infantino in order to reform the world football governing body and to reinstate football’s credibility globally.
“Asia is the world’s most populous continent where football continues to develop at an impressive pace. Through its own reform process and the new AFC Vision and Mission, the AFC will play an active role in the reform process.”
He added: “In these unprecedented times world football needs unity. With the FIFA reform package having been voted through today there is now real momentum for world football to reinstate its credibility.
“The new FIFA needs to become more inclusive and reflect the diversity of world football. I trust Gianni Infantino will provide the leadership to achieve this, as well as the rest of the reforms that are now urgently needed.”
Meanwhile, UEFA announced Infantino’s election at FIFA meant his post with the European body would be discussed next month.
A UEFA statement read: “Following the election of Gianni Infantino as FIFA president, the UEFA executive committee will discuss the position of UEFA general secretary at its next meeting on 4 March.”
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