Uefa’s general secretary Gianni Infantino will stand for the Fifa presidency, European football’s governing body has conformed.
The members of Uefa’s executive committee have agreed to back Infantino – Michel Platini’s right-hand man for the past six years.
Uefa president Platini is also standing, but is currently suspended from all football-related activities for 90 days pending a disciplinary hearing into a 2.5million Swiss franc payment (£1.3m) payment made by the departing president, Sepp Blatter, in 2011.
A statement from the Uefa 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 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.
“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.”
Infantino’s entrance into the race comes after Asian football’s leader, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, became the sixth candidate to confirm he would be standing for football’s top job.
The other candidates announced so far are: South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale; Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein of Jordan; David Nakhid, former Trinidad and Tobago player; and the former Fifa deputy general secretary Jérôme Champagne.
The head of the Liberian FA Musa Bility says he has submitted his candidacy for the election and has received the backing of the five member associations.
Bility told the BBC: “I am a very happy man.”
Meanwhile, Korea’s former Fifa vice-president Chung Mong-joon has officially withdrawn following his six-year ban imposed by Fifa’s ethics committee.
He said on his blog: “Because of the Ethics Committee’s unjust sanctions, I will have to miss the October 26 deadline to file my candidacy. It is now time to officially withdraw my candidacy for the next Fifa president.
“Even though I cannot run in this election, I believe there is still much that I can do. As someone who loves football, I will continue to speak out frankly about Fifa’s problems.”