FIFA : Gianni Infantino wins FIFA Presidential elections
Gianni Infantino becomes new FIFA president and promises to ‘work with all of you to restore a new era’
Gianni Infantino has become FIFA’s ninth president after being elected at the world governing body’s extraordinary congress in Zurich on Friday.
The FIFA presidential election entered a second round of voting for the first time in 42 years after Infantino of Switzerland secured more backing than pre-vote favourite Sheik Salman bin Ibrahim al Khalifa of Bahrain in the first round, when a two thirds majority was required to win.
A simple majority of more than 50 per cent – 104 votes – was sufficient for victory in the second round.
And Infantino secured 115 votes to Sheikh Salman’s 88 to become the second successive Swiss president, after Sepp Blatter.
The 45-year-old lawyer is from Brig in the Valais region of Switzerland, less than six miles from Blatter’s hometown of Visp.
Blatter was first appointed in 1998 and had been voted in five times, including last May, but he stepped aside days later amid allegations which led to a six-year ban from football-related activity, which he is contesting.
His resignation prompted the world governing body’s extraordinary congress in the most pivotal period of FIFA’s 112-year history.
Infantino will serve the remaining term of office for which Blatter was elected last May, meaning there will be a further election in 2019.
He told congress: ‘Dear friends, I cannot express my feelings in this moment. I told you I went through a journey, an exceptional journey, a journey which made me meet a lot of fantastic people, who love football and breath football and live football every day.
‘We will restore the image of FIFA and the respect of FIFA and everyone in the world will applaud us.
‘I want to work with all of you together in order to restore and rebuild a new era of FIFA where we can put again football at the centre of the stage.
‘FIFA has gone through sad times, moments of crisis, but those times are over. We need to implement the reform and implement good governance and transparency. We also need to have respect.
‘We’re going to win back this respect through hard work, commitment and we’re going to make sure we can finally focus on this wonderful game that is football.’
Voting for the new FIFA president went into a second round after Infantino and Salman failed to secure a two-thirds majority.
But UEFA general secretary Infantino narrowly edged Salman in the voting with 88 votes to 85.
Prince Ali received 27 and Jerome Champagne seven. To win in the second round, a candidate must reach 104 votes.
Ahead of Friday’s presidential election, FIFA voted in favour of reforms designed to repair its image and guard against future misdemeanours after the worst crisis in its near-112 history.
The reforms, voted on at FIFA’s extraordinary congress in Zurich, address issues of governance, accountability, transparency and diversity.
Meanwhile, Tokyo Sexwale received a standing ovation after ending his bid to be FIFA president in his final opportunity to address the extraordinary congress.
The 62-year-old South African was the last of five candidates to address the 207 voting members who will decide on the successor to Sepp Blatter.
His charisma was on full show in the 15-minute speech, which he ended by announcing he would not take part in the ballot.
Sexwale said: ‘My campaign ends today and I suspend my participation. I leave only four people.’
There were 207 eligible votes (Kuwait and Indonesia are suspended) and 201 votes were cast on the reforms, with 89 per cent (179 votes) in favour.
SECOND ROUND VOTING RESULTS
Gianni Infantino: 115
Sheik Salman: 88
Prince Ali: 4
Jerome Champagne: 0
SO WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT NEW FIFA PRESIDENT GIANNI INFANTINO?
Name: Gianni Infantino
Background: A lawyer by training, later an administrator in a university department and then a UEFA suit since 2000.
Key manifesto pledge: Increase the World Cup to 40 teams.
Gianni Infantino will wake up on Saturday morning to begin his first day’s work as the most important man in world football and could be forgiven for thinking he’s the luckiest bloke on the planet.
Six months ago he had no intention whatsoever of running to replace Sepp Blatter, and was contentedly pottering along as general secretary of UEFA. He only entered the race to keep the seat warm for his continent in case Michel Platini had to withdraw for any reason. Of course Platini wasn’t just forced to withdraw, he was booted out of football for six years for accepting a £1.3m disloyal payment from Blatter.
That left Infantino, a multi-lingual family man with a wife from Lebanon and kids, as UEFA’s horse in the race, but still an outsider behind odds-on favourite Sheik Salman. But in the face of those odds he spent the last two months jetting around the world on €500,000 (£394,000) of UEFA funding, drumming up support.
One key promise to the world’s 209 FAs has been straight from the Blatter playbook: promising them money, or £5m each every four years, a huge increase on the sums they get now. And how it worked. He will not be short of a few pounds himself now, either. Blatter’s salary, never yet disclosed, is understood to have been around £5m a year, plus lavish expenses, and even in a new era, Infantino can expect a huge pay packet to reflect his new status. A fan of Inter Milan, he will certainly be able to travel in greater style to the San Siro if he chooses.
A Swiss-Italian, Infantino’s home village is Brig in the Swiss canton of Valais. Blatter lives in the next village, Visp, a three-minute drive away.
Source : Daily Mail