Infantino backed by French for FIFA presidency

BY foxsports • January 29, 2016

The French football federation will support Gianni Infantino in next month's FIFA presidential election, its president Noel Le Graet has announced.

UEFA general secretary Infantino is one of five candidates to succeed Sepp Blatter as the head of world football, with the election to be held on February 26.

He has the unanimous backing of UEFA's executive committee - with one member, Football Association vice-chairman David Gill, describing him as "the stand-out candidate".

And the French federation has opted to support the Swiss in preference to French national Jerome Champagne, who spent 11 years working at FIFA including as deputy secretary general.

A statement from Le Graet on read: "In agreement with its executive committee (11 of 12 members in favour), the French football federation has decided to support the candidature of Gianni Infantino in the election for the presidency of FIFA.

"Gianni has all the qualities required to succeed. He has the experience, the talent, a work ethic and his convictions, which he has demonstrated as general secretary of UEFA alongside Michel Platini.

"He has laid out an ambitious programme which is good for football and our federations, focusing on a necessary restoration of the image of FIFA but also the economic development and educational values of our sport throughout the world.

"Gianni wishes to preserve democracy and equality between the 209 federations. This is another major focus of his commitments and his plan for the future of FIFA and football, to which French football is also committed."

Asian football president Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan and South African politician and businessman Tokyo Sexwale are the other candidates for the FIFA presidency.

UEFA president Platini withdrew from the race after being banned from footballing activity for eight years following an investigation into a £1.3million payment received from FIFA in 2011.

Platini has appealed against his ban, while a separate appeal from FIFA's ethics committee seeks to increase it. French sport newspaper L'Equipe reported on Friday that both will be heard at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich on February 15.