Zurich - UEFA leaders may back their general secretary to run for the FIFA presidency, sources close to European soccer's governing body said on Monday.
Members of UEFA's executive committee were expected to discuss a bid by Gianni Infantino on a teleconference on Monday, hours before a deadline for candidates to register for the February 26 election, the sources told Reuters.
FIFA, the governing body for world soccer, is embroiled in the worst scandal in its history after the United States indicted several FIFA officials for bribery, money laundering and wire fraud in May. Swiss authorities are also investigating the decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.
If Infantino runs, he would join six other candidates in the race. UEFA president Michel Platini has registered, but his chances are slim. He is serving a 90-day suspension, along with FIFA president Sepp Blatter, pending a full investigation by FIFA's Ethics Committee.
On Saturday, South Africa's Tokyo Sexwale, a former Apartheid-era political prisoner turned businessman, announced he would stand.
Former Trinidad and Tobago midfielder David Nakhid says he has submitted his papers to FIFA, along with former FIFA deputy general secretary Jerome Champagne and Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein.
On Sunday, the Bahrain News Agency reported that the Asian Football Confederation president, Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, has also entered the race.
Another candidate, South Korea's Chung Mong-Joon, pulled out of the race on Monday. A scion of South Korea's Hyundai industrial conglomerate, Chung was banned from the sport for six years by FIFA, after an investigation into the decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.
"Even though I can no longer stand for FIFA President, there is much left for me to do," Chung said. "I will continue to work with all those who love football to bring about legitimate changes from within FIFA."