NYON: Two of UEFA’s most powerful federations have wasted no time in backing openly Gianni Infantino for the FIFA presidency writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Infantino, the European federation’s general secretary, stood initially as a fail-safe in case UEFA president Michel Platini’s power bid faltered. Subsquently Platini was banned from football for financial misconduct, leaving Infantino to carry on.
He will have his work cut out trying to persuade the rest of the world that he is not merely the representative of a European power grab.
Yesterday Infantino unveiled a manifesto expressing loyalty to the reform proposals also being put to the election congress on February 26.
Now, within less than 24 hours, both the German and Portuguese federations have signalled their support.
Reinhard Rauball, joint interim head of the DFB, declared Germany’s support after a meeting of his executive committee.
Rauball said: “We are all agreed that Gianni Infantino is the the best candidate. He knows, through his UEFA work, all aspects of football, is well-connected internationally and speaks six languages.
“With his reputation and experience he is qualified to address the structural changes and challenges ahead . . . to ensure the long-term restoration of credibility and confidence in FIFA.”
Fernando Gomes, president of the Portuguese federation, echoed Rauball’s confidence. Gomes said: “The manifesto shows clearly that the vision of Gianni Infantino is that FIFA and world football need to start a new era of action and transparency.
“Our federation has already decided to vote in favour of Infantino and I hope all Europe’s federations will agree to do the same at our extraordiunary general assembly on Friday in Nyon.”