UEFA’s executive committee have thrown their full weight behind general secretary Gianni Infantino as a candidate for president of FIFA, European football’s governing body said on Monday (October 26).
Swiss Infantino, who has been general secretary since 2009, was given unanimous backing by the executive committee, the organisation said in a statement.
FIFA, the governing body for world soccer, is embroiled in the worst scandal of its history, after the United States 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.
Infantino joins six other candidates in the race. UEFA president Michel Platini has registered, but his chances are slim. He is serving a 90-day suspension, along with FIFA president Sepp Blatter, pending a full investigation by FIFA’s Ethics Committee.
On Saturday, South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale, a former Apartheid-era political prisoner turned businessman, announced he would stand.
Former Trinidad and Tobago midfielder David Nakhid says he has submitted his papers to FIFA, along with former FIFA deputy general secretary Jerome Champagne and Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein.
On Sunday, the Bahrain News Agency reported that the Asian Football Confederation president, Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, has also entered the race.
Another candidate, South Korea’s Chung Mong-Joon, pulled out of the race on Monday. A scion of South Korea’s Hyundai industrial conglomerate, Chung was banned from the sport for six years by FIFA, after an investigation into the decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.
“Even though I can no longer stand for FIFA President, there is much left for me to do,” Chung said. “I will continue to work with all those who love football to bring about legitimate changes from within FIFA.”