UEFA has unanimously endorsed Gianni Infantino’s candidacy for the FIFA presidency at next month’s elections.
Infantino entered the race to replace the suspended Sepp Blatter in October and the UEFA general secretary has been the favourite to secure his federation’s nomination since president Michel Platini was provisionally suspended from all football activities alongside Blatter earlier that month.
Platini and Blatter are now serving eight-year bans in relation to a payment made from FIFA to the former France captain in February 2011.
Earlier this month, Platini confirmed the withdrawal of his FIFA presidential candidacy, clearing the way for UEFA to back Infantino following this week’s Executive Committee meeting in Nyon.
A statement from UEFA read: “Following meetings at the House of European Football in Nyon, the UEFA Executive Committee would like to affirm that we unanimously endorse Gianni Infantino’s candidacy for the FIFA presidency.
“UEFA’s national associations also overwhelmingly expressed their support for Gianni and will officially announce their individual positions in due course, respecting their internal formal procedures.
“Gianni Infantino entered the presidential race for football’s world governing body on 26 October 2015, with the backing of the UEFA Executive Committee, and we are certain he is the right man to take FIFA forward now.”
Infantino will contest the election against Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, Jerome Champagne, Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa and Tokyo Sexwale in Zurich on February 26.
The 45-year-old Swiss revealed an 11-point manifesto on his website this week, which pledged to increase the number of teams at a World Cup finals to 40 and improve transparency throughout FIFA.
“Gianni’s key objective is to put football back to the centre of what FIFA does,” a statement on the website read.
“Gianni’s vision is based on three key pillars – reform; democracy and participation and football development – and informed by 20 years of experience and discussions with football people across the world.”