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  • Central American FAs Back Infantino FIFA Presidential Bid


    The letter from the UNCAF federations (FIFAForward)
    (WFI) Gianni Infantino has won the support of the seven-member Central American Football Union in his bid for the FIFA presidency.

    Leaders of the UNCAF federations, which are part of CONCACAF, endorsed the UEFA general secretary in a letter on Monday that Infantino posted on his Twitter page.

    It was signed by presidents of the federations of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Belize and Nicaragua as well as Uncaf chief Rafael Tinocco.

    Infantino said he was “delighted” to secure UNCAF’s backing. “Thank you @UNCAF for the support. Together we can take FIFA forward,” he tweeted to his 5,000-plus followers.

    He said in a statement that the federations’ support combined with backing promised from all over the world “encourages me to keep working hard, explaining in detail my proposals to as many federations as possible”.

    Infantino also claims to have solid backing from Barbados, Germany, Grenada, Iceland, Portugal, Suriname and Switzerland. The 45-year-old is currently campaigning for votes in Paraguay where he is lobbying CONMEBOL leaders.

    Last week, the UEFA Executive Committee endorsed Infantino’s candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

    Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Jerome Champagne and Tokyo Sexwale are also vying for the top job in world football in the Feb. 26 election.

    FIFA Forum Chaos

    Plans for Wednesday’s televised FIFA forum on the future of the scandal-tarnished football body at the European Parliament have collapsed after Prince Ali and Sexwale withdrew.

    Salman and Infantino had not committed to participating in the debate. But the FIFA candidates from Jordan and South Africa were set to appear, until Ali pulled out on Monday and Sexwale followed suit.

    Prince Ali feared a possible breach of FIFA electoral rules, although this was disputed by the FIFA committee overseeing the election process.

    According to NewFIFANow, one of the organizers of the debate, Prince Ali had understood one of the two candidates – either Infantino or Salman – had "made a complaint to the Ad Hoc Electoral Committee" on the basis of political interference.

    British MP and NewFIFANow co-founder Damian Collins said it was “ridiculous” to claim that an informal debate taking place in the European Parliament, which has no executive powers relating to sport, constituted political interference in football.

    "We are merely trying to put legitimate questions about the future of FIFA to presidential candidates as members of various parliaments as well as on behalf of fans and other key stakeholders,” he said in a statement.

    He added: "Any organization interested in, or committed to, democracy, transparency and accountability would understand this as should the people who want to be FIFA president. We are just seeing the same old FIFA at play and they have learned nothing about what they need to do to try to rebuild trust and credibility from the broader community."

    Collins has written to the chairman of FIFA's Ad Hoc Electoral Committee, Domenico Scala, seeking clarification about the rules on candidates participating in such a public forum.

    “Rather than helping to rebuild FIFA's credibility in the broader community, this outcome will just add to the impression that people at FIFA do not want open discussion about the future and reform of the organization," Collins said.

    A live web stream will be available from the European Parliament, but ESPN has cancelled its live broadcast due to the withdrawals.

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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