NYON: European federation UEFA followed up a hectic morning cultimating in an executive committee tele-c0nference by explaining why it was now supporting general secretary Gianni Infantino for the presidency of world federation FIFA writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
At no point in the statement did UEFA mention its president Michel Platini who was the first contender to declare himself after the confirmation of February 26 as the election date.
Platini is serving a 90-day provisional suspension from the FIFA ethics committee pending a full investigation into his acceptance in 2011 of an alleged ‘disloyal payment’ from FIFA on the authorisation of president Sepp Blatter – who is also currently suspended.
Instead, confining itself to the positive aspects of Infantino as an election choice, UEFA said:
“The forthcoming election for a new FIFA president represents a crucial moment in the governance of the game and the future of FIFA itself. We believe that Gianni Infantino has all of the qualities required to tackle the major challenges ahead and to lead the organisation on a path of reform to restore FIFA’s integrity and credibility.
“Gianni has done a great job at UEFA, has a proven track record as a top class administrator and built positive relations with football stakeholders around the globe.
“He has been a long-time advocate of the need for change and renewed development at FIFA and would bring a refreshing and informed voice to the top table of football’s world governing body.
“We are delighted that Gianni has agreed to stand and he knows that he has our full support in his campaign to become FIFA president. He is in the process of submitting the required nominations and will issue a statement on his candidacy later today.”
Gianni Infantino is currently the General Secretary of UEFA, a position he has held since October 2009. Since his appointment, he has been part of a leadership team, which has helped further strengthen both national team and club football in Europe and UEFA’s role as a respected and credible international governing body.
At the helm of UEFA’s administration, Gianni Infantino has intensified UEFA’s work to provide a sustainable environment for European football, through initiatives such as Financial Fair Play, improved commercial support to national associations of all sizes and the development of UEFA’s competitions at every level of the game. He is currently also serving as a member of FIFA’s Reform Committee.
A multilingual lawyer, Gianni Infantino came to UEFA in August 2000, working on a range of legal, commercial and professional football matters, and was appointed Director of UEFA’s Legal Affairs and Club Licensing Division in January 2004. Throughout this time he also led UEFA’s work in fostering close contacts with the European Union, the Council of Europe and governmental authorities. He was promoted to Deputy General Secretary before becoming General Secretary in 2009. He speaks English, French, German, Spanish and Italian fluently.
Prior to joining UEFA, Gianni Infantino worked as the secretary general of the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) at the University of Neuchâtel, having previously been an adviser to a variety of football bodies, in Italy, Spain and Switzerland.