FIFA candidates Infantino, Sexwale meet in South Africa – USA TODAY

8 months ago Comments Off on FIFA candidates Infantino, Sexwale meet in South Africa – USA TODAY

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — FIFA presidential candidate Gianni Infantino will visit Robben Island, the apartheid-era prison off Cape Town.

Infantino and rival candidate Tokyo Sexwale were to visit the island Monday, four days before the election to choose a successor for Sepp Blatter.

Sexwale’s campaign team said the South African businessman invited all four other candidates to South Africa but Sheikh Salman of Bahrain, Prince Ali of Jordan and Jerome Champagne declined, citing “tight schedules” before the FIFA election on Friday in Zurich.

Infantino, the UEFA secretary general, and Sheikh Salman have emerged as favorites to succeed Blatter as the head of world soccer in a vote forced by the corruption scandal at FIFA.

Sexwale has struggled to gain support and has previously denied he’ll withdraw before the election.

Infantino said he would not seek to make deals with other candidates ahead of the election, but appearing alongside Sexwale is bound to lead to speculation that he is seeking an endorsement from the South African.

Sheikh Salman, the president of the Asian soccer confederation, has been officially backed by the Confederation of African Football, but Infantino has said he will have the support of many of Africa’s 54 countries.

With the largest number of voting countries in the election, Africa is seen as an important battleground for Salman, who has the backing of Asia, and Infantino, who has the support of Europe.

Sexwale was jailed by the apartheid regime on Robben Island alongside Nelson Mandela. Later Monday, he was also due to take Infantino on a tour of a museum at a university in Cape Town, where memorabilia related to the Makana Football Association, a soccer league set up by political prisoners on Robben Island, is kept.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

FIFA candidates Infantino, Sexwale meet in South Africa – USA TODAY

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