Infantino Emerges New FIFA President | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Infantino Emerges New FIFA President

Posted: Feb 26, 2016 at 6:11 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Chibuike Chukwu, Lagos


FIFA has chosen Gianni Infantino as its new president. The Swiss  won 115 votes, beating his nearest rival, Sheikh Salman al-Khalifa, from Bahrain, who claimed 88 votes.

Infantino will replace outgoing president, Sepp Blatter, who had held the position since 1998 but was forced to resign last year amid a growing corruption crisis surrounding the organization.

Infantino, 45, has been a prominent figure in European football body UEFA for over 10 years, and previously worked in the role of general secretary of the organization.

He won the FIFA vote in the second round, after the first round failed to produce the required two-thirds majority, with Infantino gaining 88 votes, Sheikh Salman winning 85, and other candidates Jordanian Prince Ali bin al-Hussein and Frenchman Jerome Champagne getting 27 and 7 votes respectively.

Sheikh Salman, the head of the Asian Football Confederation, was widely tipped by bookmakers to win the vote, but was beaten into second place. He was tainted by alleged human rights abuses connected with the suppression of protests in his native Bahrain several years, which were part of the so-called Arab Spring. Despite denying the claims, they may have damaged his cause.

Infantino has called for wide-ranging reforms to FIFA, including a much-discussed proposal to increase the World Cup to 40 teams. He has also pledged to allocate additional funds to football development for all member associations.

He gained big support from European and South American delegates, and had earlier received the very public backing of associations including the English FA.