Gianni Infantino has won the backing of former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and perhaps more importantly from Russia for the election for the FIFA presidency.

Infantino is one of five candidates standing to succeed Sepp Blatter and the endorsement of Russia, which is hosting the 2018 World Cup and has considerable influence in eastern Europe, is significant.

The Russia football federation announced its backing for Infantino, currently UEFA's general secretary, saying in a statement: "He will be able to unite the football family."

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Ferguson added: "In my role as ambassador to UEFA over the last few years I've got to know Gianni very well. I think he's got good professionalism, discipline, organisational ability and knowledge of the game and I wish him every success in his quest to be a FIFA president."

Asian football leader Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Prince Ali Bin Hussein of Jordan, Frenchman Jerome Champagne and South Africa's Tokyo Sexwale are also running for president.