Football: Pele gives backing to Johansson

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THE Brazilian football legend Pele has endorsed the candidacy of Lennart Johansson to become the next president of FIFA, world football's governing body.

Pele gave his backing to Johansson at an official presentation in Antigua to mark the 21st Confederation of the North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) Congress. He said his long-standing relationship with Johansson and the need for a change in the direction of the world's most popular sport were among his reasons for supporting the Uefa's Swedish president in his bid to secure the coveted leadership of football's governing body.

"His [Johansson's] programme and vision for the future is something we need," Pele said. "Now is the moment for a change and Mr Johansson has proved in Uefa he can bring about this change."

Representatives from England and South Africa were also at the conference to put their cases for hosting the 2006 World Cup finals.