KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: Sepp Blatter, the banned, disgraced and now-finally-departed president of FIFA, was quick to offer congratulations to successor Gianni Infantino.

Blatter, from the same Valois corner of Switzerland as the new leader of the world football federation, issued his own verdict within minutes of Infantino’s victory in the second round of voting over Bahain’s Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.#

He also, along the way, made a point of taking credit for the reforms which had also been voted in at the extraordinary congress.

Blatter, whose ban from football meant he could not crown his successor, said: “It’s with great interest I have followed the extraordinary congress and I took particular satisfaction in notint that the reforms gained the required three-quarters majority.

“FIFA is heading towards a positive future. The clear separation between the management and policy decisions, enhanced integrity checks as well as term limits for all senior officers will strengthen the transparency and credibility of FIFA.”

Credit claim

Addressing the election of the new man in his old seat, Blatter also sought to seize some credit for himself.

He said: “I congratulate Gianni Infantino sincerely and warmly for election as the new president. The agreed reform package means the demands on him are high because the implementations of the new structures will be a major challenge. But I am convinced that my successor is ready to meet this.

“With his experience, expertise, strategic and diplomatic skills he has all the qualities to continue my work and stabilise FIFA once more. I wish him good luck and success.”

Blatter joined FIFA in 1975 as development director, moved up to general secretary in 1983 and then chief executive before becoming president in 1998.

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