London - FIFA presidential candidate Michel Platini has won the key backing of the head of the Asian Football Confederation, Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain.
Sheikh Salman said in a statement backing the UEFA president on Friday that the world governing body would "need a leadership with experience, wisdom and ability to bring back stability to FIFA.
"Mr. Platini boasts such characteristics and has an ambitious vision to renew belief in the organisation," he said.
The news will be particular welcome for Platini given his closest challenger to emerge so far is an Asian candidate - South Korean former FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-joon.
FIFA will hold an elective congress on February 26 to decide on the replacement for outgoing president Sepp Blatter, who is standing down following the organisation's corruption scandals.
While Sheikh Salman's endorsement is a personal one at this stage he made it clear he wanted his region to be united in the vote "for the good of Asian football."
FIFA was thrown into turmoil in May when U.S. prosecutors announced the indictment of nine current and former soccer officials, many of whom had FIFA positions, and five sports marketing executives.