UEFA's Infantino to bid for FIFA presidency

Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:15pm EDT
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By Joshua Franklin

ZURICH (Reuters) - UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino entered the race for FIFA president on Monday as Asian soccer chief Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain declared he had also put himself forward.

A surprise announcement from the European soccer authority that it was backing Infantino came ahead of the midnight CET deadline for candidates to register nominations for the presidency of world soccer's crisis-torn governing body. The FIFA election is scheduled to take place in Zurich on Feb. 26.

FIFA is embroiled in the worst scandal of its 111-year history, the United States having indicted several FIFA officials for bribery, money laundering and wire fraud in May.

Swiss authorities are also investigating the decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.

Earlier this month, FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini, who had been favourite to succeed him, were suspended for 90 days pending a full investigation by FIFA's Ethics Committee.

Platini would not be able to be officially named a candidate while under suspension but FIFA has left the door ajar for him to run should he later win an appeal against his ban.

In the meantime, UEFA has opted to make sure they have a candidate in the race.

"We are delighted that Gianni has agreed to stand and he knows that he has our full support in his campaign to become FIFA President," said UEFA in a statement.   Continued...

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino pauses during a news conference on behalf of their suspended president Michel Platini following a meeting of UEFA's executive committee at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, October 15, 2015.  REUTERS/Denis Balibouse