Last night, FIFA’s executive committee appeared to send conflicting messages when it approved sweeping reforms to the world’s football governing body, but also voted in an unlikely new president.
UEFA general secretary and Swiss Italian lawyer Gianni Infantino entered the presidential race one day before the deadline as a “stop-gap” candidate for his boss Michel Platini, who was suspended over corruption allegations and later banned from football activities for years.
Infantino defeated four other men, including Bahrain’s Shaikh Salman bin Ibrahim, following two rounds of voting:
— Stad Doha (@StadDoha_en) February 26, 2016
For Qatar, which supported Shaikh Salman, Infantino’s election will likely mean more of the same. Infantino told BeIn Sports earlier this month that if elected, FIFA “will organize the best World Cups ever in Russia and Qatar in ’18 and ’22.”
During his acceptance speech in Zurich yesterday, Infantino said:
“We will restore the image of FIFA and the respect of FIFA, and everyone in the world will be proud of us.”
According to ESPN, the hard work now officially begins for the newly elected official.
“Infantino, 45, will now set about initiating a 90-day plan of action. It includes 11 points, such as starting the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup, reforming the transfer system and appointing a new FIFA secretary general.”
Other reforms approved yesterday to help clean up FIFA included expanding the executive committee, imposing term limits on senior officials and publicly disclosing salaries.