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 By PA Sport

Gianni Infantino backed by UEFA as FIFA presidential candidate

UEFA has backed general secretary Gianni Infantino as a candidate for the FIFA presidency.

The members of the executive committee recommended that Infantino -- UEFA president Michel Platini's right-hand man for the last six years -- be nominated.

Platini has also submitted his candidacy but is banned from football for 90 days pending a disciplinary hearing into a £1.3 million payment to him that was signed off by outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter in 2011.

An emergency meeting of the executive committee was called at which Infantino's candidacy was discussed.

And a statement released on Monday said: "UEFA's executive committee has today unanimously agreed to support Gianni Infantino... as a candidate for the forthcoming FIFA presidential election, following consultation within Europe and with national federations from across the global football community."

A further statement from the 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 Gianni Infantino has all 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.

"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."

Infantino later confirmed the nomination, saying: "I can confirm that following the decision of the UEFA executive committee, I have today submitted my candidature, with the required declarations of support, to become the next FIFA president.

"I will in due course be setting out my detailed thinking in a manifesto which will address the challenges and opportunities ahead. It will be based on the need for reform and also for a FIFA that genuinely serves the interests of all 209 national associations, big or small, and that puts football and football development at the top of its agenda." 

The development came after Liberian football association president Musa Bility confirmed he would join the race to become the next FIFA president.

Earlier, the Asian Football Confederation president, Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, became the sixth man to submit his candidacy for the presidency, according to the official Bahrain news agency.

The Bahraini royal family member, who had until Monday to declare his candidacy, will be running against another Arab royal, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan.

Other contenders are Platini, South African tycoon Tokyo Sexwale, ex-FIFA official Jerome Champagne and David Nakhid, a former player from Trinidad and Tobago.

Blatter, 79, won a fifth term as FIFA president earlier this year but laid out resignation plans soon afterwards as criminal investigations into FIFA officials gathered momentum.

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