FIFA Candidate Infantino Confident Of Africa’s Support
A top contender for the FIFA presidency ahead of Friday’s all-important election, Switzerland’s Gianni Infantino believes that he will be able to count on the support of African nations in the final vote count.
On February 26 the FIFA presidential election takes place at the Extraordinary FIFA Congress in Zurich, with a new president set to be chosen for world football’s governing body from a list of five remaining candidates.
Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter was forced to resign last year following a wide-spread scandal that involved numerous people within the organisation, leading to criminal investigations and suspensions.
CAF president Issa Hayatou has been standing in as a temporary head of FIFA in the interim, but now the elections will determine a new leader for the embattled governing body.
Who will Africa vote for?
As one of the two favourites to assume the presidential role, Infantino is expected to be challenged for the position by Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain.
Salman publicly received the backing of CAF from the confederation’s president Hayatou, but UEFA general secretary Infantino has suggested that he is feeling very confident of receiving support from Africa too.
“I will make an impact [in Africa]. I will have a majority of the African votes,” Infantino said during his visit to Robben Island in South Africa at the request of fellow candidate Tokyo Sexwale, who was imprisoned there as a result of his fight against apartheid.
“In the discussions I’ve had with many African [federation] presidents, I can say I feel very confident,” Infantino said, according to SuperSport.
Africa is FIFA’s biggest confederation, making up 54 of the 209 FIFA member countries that will be given the right vote in the presidential election and decide the future of FIFA’s leadership.
Infantino has proposed to expand the World Cup to 40 teams, which has been a point of disagreement with his fellow candidates. He also wants to increase the use of video technology in the game.
The 45-year-old has the backing of most European nations, including England, who publicly endorsed Infantino.