UEFA general secretary, Gianni Infantino, will stand for the FIFA presidency, European football’s governing body has announced.
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.
Blatter – who is also banned – will be succeeded at an election in February.
All candidates need the backing of five federations to be put forward for the vote.
Infantino is one of nine candidates to say they will stand, with the deadline for applications set on Tuesday.
“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,” a statement from UEFA said.
“Gianni has done a great job at UEFA, has a proven track record as a top class administrator and built positive relations with football stakeholders around the globe. He has been a long-time advocate of the need for change and renewed development at FIFA and would bring a refreshing and informed voice to the top table of football’s world governing body.
“We are delighted that Gianni has agreed to stand and he knows that he has our full support in his campaign to become FIFA President. He is in the process of submitting the required nominations and will issue a statement on his candidacy later today.”
To date, South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale, Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein of Jordan, former Trinidad and Tobago international David Nakhid, former FIFA deputy general secretary Jerome Champagne and Liberia FA president Musa Bility have said they have formally submitted their bids.
Alongside Sexwale and Bility, a third African candidate – former Nigerian international Segun Odegbami – has also announced his intention to stand.