Infantino upbeat about FIFA vote after winning support in Caribbean

Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:09am EST
 
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By Simon Evans

MIAMI (Reuters) - FIFA presidential candidate Gianni Infantino says he believes he can win February's vote to replace Sepp Blatter at the helm of the crisis-hit global soccer body after picking up what he called major support in the Caribbean.

The FIFA election is taking place against the backdrop of a massive corruption scandal which has seen 41 individuals and entities charged in the United States and Blatter banned from the game for eight years.

Infantino attended a meeting on Sunday of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), which has 25 votes in the election, and won the backing of Barbados Football Association president Randy Harris. He said he had "excellent feedback" from CFU members.

The president of the CFU, Gordon Derrick, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the meeting.

Swiss Infantino is one of five candidates including Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, former FIFA deputy general secretary Jerome Champagne of France, South African businessman and politician Tokyo Sexwale and Jordanian former FIFA executive committee member Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan.

Prince Ali was beaten by 133-73 votes by Blatter in the last FIFA presidential election in May.

Infantino, who is currently general secretary of European soccer body UEFA, dismissed speculation of a deal with Sheikh Salman that the pair would avoid direct confrontation between the AFC and UEFA in the vote, possibly with the UEFA official taking on the general secretary role.

"I am going for the win. I am the candidate for the presidency and this support gives me even more responsibility and even more will to go until the end to become president of FIFA," he told Reuters by telephone late on Sunday.   Continued...

 
Gianni Infantino attends a news conference after a meeting of UEFA's executive committee, on the eve of the draw of the Euro 2016 finals, in Paris, France, December 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Benoit Tessier