UEFA’s general secretary Gianni Infantino has announced his intention to stand for the FIFA presidency when Sepp Blatter departs the role.
Infantino – Michel Platini’s right-hand man for the last six years – has received the unanimous backing of UEFA’s executive committee.
Platini has also submitted his candidacy for the election but is currently banned for 90 days pending a disciplinary hearing into a £1.3million payment signed off by outgoing president Sepp Blatter in 2011.
An emergency meeting of UEFA’s executive committee took place via teleconference on Monday morning. Infantino, who is understood to have held talks with senior figures in the Asian confederation about standing, could step down if Platini is cleared of all charges, but otherwise would be a strong candidate in his own right.
A statement from UEFA’s executive committee said: “The forthcoming election for a new FIFA president represents a crucial moment in the governance of the game and the future of FIFA itself. We believe that Gianni Infantino has all of the qualities required to tackle the major challenges ahead and to lead the organisation on a path of reform to restore FIFA’s integrity and credibility.”