UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino gestures during a news conference after an Executive Committee meeting at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, January 22, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

NYON, Switzerland (Reuters) – Gianni Infantino, a candidate in the election for the presidency of world soccer body FIFA, received the “overwhelming” backing of Europe’s football associations, UEFA said on Friday.

“UEFA’s national associations overwhelmingly expressed their support for Gianni and will officially announce their individual positions in due course,” said UEFA in a statement.

FIFA’s 209 member associations each have one vote in the election, with 53 of those in Europe. Infantino, secretary general of European soccer body UEFA, is one of five candidates standing in the Feb. 26.

The winner will replace outgoing president Sepp Blatter who has been in charge since 1998 but was banned for football for eight years in December in a widening graft scandal which has enveloped the sport.

(Reporting by Brian Homewood; editing by John Stonestreet)


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