President of FIFA Gianni Infantino has debunked claims that he is trying to influence the results of next month’s Confederations of African Football presidential elections.
Infantino is said to be favouring Issa Hayatou’s fierce competitor Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar after attending a party hosted by the chairman of the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA), who have thrown their weight behind Ahmad to dethrone the long serving CAF president.
But Infantino claims reports are false, insisting his visit to Zimbabwe was discuss how to develop the sport the country.
“I was in Zimbabwe discussing with the government over a football development, creating 8,000 football clubs across the country and this will boost football development in Zimbabwe,” Infantino told a press conference in Accra.
“I am the President of 211 associations in the world and I have got the duty to visit and see for myself the job they are doing locally.
“If they invite me to come and see their work I have to go and some who don’t even invite me I have the duty to go and see their work.
“It is not up to the FIFA President to comment about CAF elections. Delegates have the rights to exercise their rights democratically to elect their leader.”
Madagascar FA chief Ahmad is the lone rival to CAF president Issa Hayatou.
Cosafa chairman Phillip Chiyangwa – also the chief of the Zimbabwe Football Association – held the event in Harare to celebrate his birthday.
He also invited other African FA chairmen from outside the COSAFA region.
Before the event took place CAF, in a letter sent on behalf of Hayatou, accused Chiyangwa of “trying to destabilize” the continent’s governing body and warned he could face sanctions.
Hayatou is attempting to win an eighth term in office in the elections on 16 March.