KEIR RADNEDGE in MOSCOW: FIFA president Gianni Infantino wants next year’s World Cup finals in Russia to help draw a line under the bad old days of the international football federation.
Infantino also told a media briefing ahead of the finals draw in The Kremlin that no action would be considered against Brazilian CBF supremo Marco Polo del Nero until after the legal process in the United States had been wrapped up.
Allegations that Del Nero accepted millions in bribes skimmed off commercial rights contracts in South American have surfaced repeatedly in the ongoing trial in New York of former football bosses Jose Maria Marin (Brazil), Manuel Burga (Peru) and Juan Angel Napout (Paraguay).
Infantino, tasked over the FIFAGate scandal and court allegations concerning Qatar, said: “I hope we can focus in the next six months on football and the World Cup which means so much to so many people.
“In the past there was a bit of a specal ecosystem when it comes to the management of certain football events and now it is important to make a clear line between the past and the present and the future.
“Things like those that have happened in the past and [evidence from] the trials in New York are a testimony of what should not happen. Now we have put in enough measures at FIFA level to make sure they don’t happen any more.
“My thanks go to the American authorities, those in Switzerland and wherever, who do whatever they can to help us fight corruption and bribery because it has nothing to do with football. Since I’m in FIFA this is the case for FIFA.”
Infantino complained that FIFA was mentioned in court reports even though the current trial concerns charges about bribery and corruption specifically in the Americas.
He said: “FIFA has been recognised as a victim of some individuals who missued their position in FIFA for their own personal benefits.”
Asked directly about Del Nero’s continuing leadership of Brazilian football, Infantino said: “Whatever comes out of these trials that we have not yet dealt with, we will deal with it. We will certainly not refrain from taking measures but first we should let the process take its way.”
The likelihood is that the FIFAGate process will still be raising headlines long after the final of Russia 2018 which Infantino, taking an effusive cue from predecessor Sepp Blatter, believed “will be the best World Cup ever.”