ZURICH: Gianni Infantino has sought again to clarify events at FIFA Congress last week in Mexico City which ended with the resignation of audit chair Domenico Scala in a controversy over reform reversal writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Infantino, elected president in succession to banned and disgraced Sepp Blatter in February, insisted that – overall – FIFA had made “big steps towards rehabilitation.”

In an interview with ‘local paper’ Neue Zurcher Zeitung Infantino said FIFA had “introduced a new programme for football development and increased controls [as well as] elected new, independent members of the key committees for the governance, disciplinary and ethics committee and the audit and compliance.”

He also pointed out the appointment of a woman for the first time as secretary-general in Senegalese UN co-ordinator Fatma Samoura.

Infantino also sought to explain the ongoing mystery over his pay.

Internal fall-out

FIFA Congress decided in February that the salaries of top officials would be published but Infantino has repeatedly stalled on the details, fuelling suggestions that it was a source for his fall-out with Scala who had been a member of the remuneration committee.

Scala had proposed in the reforms that, in future, the secretary-general should be paid more than president.

However Infantino stepped back from that prospect, saying: “I have made clear from the outset that my salary will be made public, and that it will be much lower than the salaries of former FIFA president and the former secretary-general.”

He also tried, for the third time in a week, to justify smuggling through a clause scrapping the independence of the judicial committee which had been a key factor of the reforms and one which had found particular favour among critics.

Infantino, insisting this was only a ‘temporary measure,’ said: “This step was necessary [so] those who abused their tasks and under investigation, may be excluded from these bodies immediately.

“Congress has authorised the FIFA Council to do so in exceptional circumstances, and of course in accordance with applicable legal principles and guarantee . . . The new power is naturally limited until the next Congress.”

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