The German FA (DFB) confirmed on Wednesday they will back UEFA’s general secretary Gianni Infantino in his bid to become the president of world football’s governing body FIFA next month.
“Gianni Infantino is the candidate for Europe and is the best candidate as far as Rainer Koch and the leadership of the association is concerned,” said DFB co-president Reinhard Rauball, who shares the role with Koch, in Frankfurt.
“Through his job as general secretary of UEFA, he knows all facets of football, is very well networked internationally and speaks six languages.
“With his reputation and experience, he has the necessary qualifications in order to address the structural changes and challenges ahead (at FIFA).
“As well as a change of personnel at the top, reform efforts must be systematically implemented to ensure the credibility and confidence in FIFA is restored in the long term.”
On Tuesday, Infantino had stepped up campaigning for next month’s FIFA election by promising a bigger World Cup, reforms to scandal-tainted FIFA to create a “credible” global governing body and more money for member nations in his manifesto for the February 26 vote for a new leader.
The Swiss official, who has been right-hand man to suspended UEFA leader Michel Platini for the past seven years, said the World Cup should be expanded to 40 countries from the 32 for the 2018 event in Russia.
In the election, Infantino, 45, is up against Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa of Bahrain, Prince Ali bin al Hussein, a former FIFA vice president from Jordan, South African business tycoon Tokyo Sexwale and former FIFA official Jerome Champagne of France.
Platini and FIFA president Sepp Blatter were banned from football activities for eight years last month opening up the election battle when Platini withdrew.
All five candidates have promised to clean up the world body in the wake of the Blatter-Platini investigation and a US inquiry which has left 39 individuals and two companies facing charges over bribes for football deals.
Infantino has proposed a new FIFA Council for key decisions, 12-year term limits for officials including the president and more “independent voices” on key FIFA committees.
He also wants FIFA to name a chief compliance officer and to establish a fully open tendering process for the body’s multi-billion dollar deals.