Belfast Telegraph

Greg Dyke confirms FA will back Gianni Infantino's bid for Fifa presidency

By Robert Jones

Greg Dyke has confirmed the Football Association will throw its weight behind UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino's bid for the Fifa presidency.

Infantino is one of five candidates - along with Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa, Tokyo Sexwale and Jerome Champagne - hoping to succeed Sepp Blatter at the helm of football's world governing body, with the election due to be held next Friday in Zurich.

FA chairman Dyke spoke with all nominees and was impressed by Prince Ali, but said his organisation would be supporting Infantino.

Dyke said: "We decided that we would back Gianni Infantino.

"We did what we promised we would, I spoke to every candidate either in person or on the phone. We were impressed by Gianni. We were also impressed by Prince Ali, but in the end we decided to go with the Uefa candidate."

Infantino became the front-runner in Europe after former Uefa president Michel Platini was forced to end his bid when he was banned from football for eight years, along with Blatter.

The pair received the sanction for a "disloyal payment" of 2million Swiss francs (£1.3million) made to Platini in 2011, signed off by outgoing Fifa president Blatter - although both men have appealed the ruling.

Dyke added: "It's going to be a tough job whoever wins, because what you really need is the reform programme. The reform programme is much more important than who the president is."

Dyke, though, expressed his distaste for Bahraini Sheikh Salman, the president of the Asian Football Confederation who seems to be the main rival to Infantino.

"I personally have a problem with Sheikh Salman. I don't think anyone from Bahrain should be president of Fifa, given what has happened in Bahrain in recent years, given their attitude to human rights. There is no doubt there were footballers in Bahrain who were put into prison and tortured because they didn't agree with the regime."

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