Fifa presidency: FA agrees to support Gianni Infantino

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The Football Association agreed to back Gianni Infantino's candidacy for the Fifa presidency, at a board meeting on Wednesday.

Uefa general secretary Infantino, 45, is one of five candidates looking to replace Sepp Blatter on 26 February.

Blatter, 79, announced in June he would resign, amid a corruption scandal at world governing body Fifa.

The FA had supported ex-Uefa president Michel Platini, who in December was banned from football for eight years.

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Both he and Blatter - who was given the same punishment - are appealing.

Fifa's ethics committee found Blatter and Platini had demonstrated an "abusive execution" of their positions over a payment made to Platini in 2011.

Infantino, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, Tokyo Sexwale and Jerome Champagne are vying to replace Blatter, who became Fifa president in 1998.

Switzerland's Infantino and Sheikh Salman of Bahrain are frontrunners to win the election in Zurich.

Speaking on the FA website, chairman Greg Dyke said: "We decided that we would back Gianni Infantino.

"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."

Last month, Infantino said he intended to include in his manifesto plans for a World Cup to be held in a whole region rather than one or two countries.

Meanwhile, Dyke's proposals to reform the FA were also discussed at the board meeting on Wednesday and will be voted on in May.

Dyke wants to modernise the organisation, but will stand down in the summer at the end of his four-year term because he believes his plans will be strongly opposed.

Analysis

BBC Radio 5 live sports news correspondent Richard Conway:

"It was widely expected that the FA would back Infantino, but they did get their fingers burnt over Michel Platini - they backed him last summer before they even knew anybody else was in the race.

"This time, they've been a bit more reticent, but good relations with Uefa are important to the FA, and they've gone for the man who stepped into Platini's shoes.

"Infantino's camp are increasingly confident that he's got a good shot at winning the election. Voters are looking at the Swiss technocrat and wondering: 'Is he the safe choice?' Sheikh Salman has allegations hanging over his head that he was complicit in human rights abuses in Bahrain - which he vigorously denies.

"It's going to be a very close vote."

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