Gianni Infantino’s bid to become the next president of Fifa have received a boost with the news that both Russia and Italy will back him at this month’s election.
The Italian-born Swiss Infantino has been UEFA Secretary General since 2009 and has been acting president of European football’s governing body since Michel Platini was handed an eight-year ban from from football.
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko who also heads the Russian Football Union (RFU), confirmed he would be backing the Swiss.
“We agree with most European countries and believe that Infantino is our candidate for FIFA presidency,” he said.
“He has a vast experience and works at UEFA, which is the most successful organization at the moment.
“He will be able to unite the football family.
“Boasting a vast experience he works for UEFA, which is the most efficiently operating organization at the moment. He will be able to unite the football family,” the Russian sports minister added.
Infantino is currently on a visit to the Russian capital and he thanked Mutko and the RFU for the “fantastic support” adding that it was an “honour” and he was very “proud of it.”
Meanwhile, Carlo Tavecchio, head of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), revealed that he too will back Gianni Infantino’s bid.
“FIFA needs to make a start with young executives full of enthusiasm,” the FIGC president explained, “and UEFA have to take charge of this process of renewal.
“I know [Infantino] well, he is reliable and competent and I am sure he will be the right man to ensure the necessary stability and independence to FIFA.”
Last month Infantino’s hopes were boosted when the Caribbean Football Union confirmed that they would be supporting him. His principal rival is Asian Football Confederation president, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, who is expected to receive the backing from much of Asia and Africa.
The election to find a replacement for outgoing president Sepp Blatter will take place in Zurich on February 26. Blatter was re-elected president last summer but stood down within days as Fifa became emboriled in a wide-ranging corruption scanda which resulted in the arrest of several high ranking officials.
The other candidates in the election are: Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, South Africa’s ex-Minister Of Housing Construction Tokyo Sexwale and former-FIFA Secretary General Jerome Champagne.