FIFA candidate Infantino visits Iran in battle for votes

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino arrived in Iran on Wednesday after deciding to leave no stone unturned in his bid for votes in this month's FIFA presidential election.

"I am one of the candidates, and it is therefore logical I travel to Iran as well," Swiss Infantino told Iranian media.

Football experts in Tehran say Infantino is expected to receive Iran's vote in the February 26 election because the Iranians are not fans of fellow candidate Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.

He is from Bahrain and there have been political tensions between the two nations while differences have emerged between Iranian soccer officials and Sheikh Salman while he has been head of the Asian Football Confederation.

Leading European clubs said on Tuesday they are supporting Infantino while Liberian federation president Musa Bility suggested not all African nations will back Sheikh Salman, despite African confederation CAF endorsing him as their candidate.

Ex-FIFA vice president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, former FIFA official Jerome Champagne of France, and South African businessman Tokyo Sexwale are the other candidates.

Sheikh Salman on Wednesday repeated his call to work with Infantino on some sort of unspecified deal which would benefit FIFA and football as a whole.

"My door is always open to all," he told Russia's Tass news agency.

"We have to be realistic. We know the chances of each candidate. I hope Europe looks at the matter from an organizational point of view and not from an individual one. If there can be an agreement, it is a win-win situation."

The election was called by outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who announced he was stepping down after world football's governing body was enveloped by a series of corruption scandals.

He has since been banned from football for eight years alongside UEFA chief Michel Platini, who pulled out of the running to replace Blatter, allowing Infantino to stand.

Last update: Wed, 10/02/2016 - 17:25
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