Mourinho and stars endorse Infantino's FIFA bid

Gianni Infantino (AP)
Gianni Infantino (AP)

London - A stellar cast of football figures including Jose Mourinho and Luis Figo appeared in support of Gianni Infantino's FIFA presidential bid at an event at London's Wembley Stadium on Monday.

UEFA general secretary Infantino, who is bidding to succeed the disgraced Sepp Blatter in the February 26 election in Zurich, was accompanied by a host of glittering names from the game as he outlined his plans for the first 90 days of his presidency.

Mourinho, sacked as Chelsea manager in December, and Figo, himself a former FIFA presidential candidate, were joined by ex-England and AC Milan manager Fabio Capello, Brazil great Roberto Carlos, former Spain captain Fernando Hierro and former Netherlands midfielder Clarence Seedorf.

"I feel a lot of emotion to be here in front of you," Infantino told his audience after video messages from several of the figures present had been played.

"These messages mean a lot to me because they come from those who make football the sport we love."

Former Real Madrid striker Pedrag Mijatovic, ex-Chelsea midfielder Geremi, former Italy goalkeeper Francesco Toldo and former Liverpool winger Vladimir Smicer completed the line-up.

Infantino, 45, faces competition from Bahrain's Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, South African businessman Tokyo Sexwale, Jordan's Prince Ali bin Hussein, a former FIFA vice-president, and former FIFA official Jerome Champagne of France.

Addressing the challenges facing the world governing body, reeling from the biggest corruption scandal in its history, Infantino said: "My main task will be to bring football back to FIFA and FIFA back to football.

"The image of FIFA has to grow and come to the top again, and we can do this only if we live and breathe football and work 2,000 percent for football.

"These legends who are here are a testimony for the love we all have for football."

Infantino's proposals for his first 90 days include appointing a new FIFA general secretary, to replace Jerome Valcke, who was sacked for corruption offences, and launching the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup.

The multilingual Swiss also pledged to create a "Legends Team" in order to "promote the social impact of football globally".

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