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 figures including ex-England and AC Milan manager Fabio Capello, Brazil great Roberto Carlos and former Spain captain Fernando Hierro. 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." Former Real Madrid, Barcelona and Portugal star Figo told reporters: "I think we are in a crucial moment right now.
"People need to think whether they want things to continue in this situation or if they want a change. If you see the other candidates, he's the right person to make that change." 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.
Infantino's proposals for his first 90 days include appointing a "non-European" 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 revealed that he had faced death threats over European governing body UEFA's pursuit of match-fixing investigations.
"I've received life threats against me, against my family because UEFA was acting against match-fixing," he said. "I had to have a police escort for my children because of the actions of UEFA against match-fixing."