KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: World football federation has confirmed Swiss media reports in August that Gianni Infantino has been cleared over allegations also involving Switzerland’s then attorney-general before and just after he became president of world football federation FIFA.

A long-running – and at times almost comical – investigation had been dragging on over a series of secret, and in some cases unminuted, meetings between July 2015 and June 2017 with Infantino, other legal representatives and former law boss Michael Lauber.

Michel Platini, president of European football federation at the time, had always suspected that the meetings had concerned attempts to quash his likely bid to succeed long-serving Sepp Blatter as FIFA president.

The Frenchman was ultimately barred over a delayed payments scandal and Infantino, previously UEFA general secretary, was voted in as FIFA supremo in the spring of 2016.

FIFA own ethics department shut down its own inquiry in 2020.

A statement from FIFA on the outcome of the investigation has said:

Now it is official: FIFA President Gianni Infantino has always acted absolutely correctly and lawfully in his relations with the Swiss public prosecutors who were investigating the “old FIFA”! The new FIFA is today a clean, well run and robust organisation which operates in accordance with the highest ethical and governance standards. 

FIFA takes note, with extreme satisfaction, of the decision of the two Extraordinary Federal Prosecutors, Hans Maurer and Ulrich Weder, to dismiss and definitively close the proceedings against Gianni Infantino in relation to the so-called “Lauber case”. 

Mr Maurer and Mr Weder were put on the case after the previous “extraordinary prosecutor” was rightfully kicked out by the Swiss Federal Criminal Court in 2021 for acting with evident bias. 

The outcome of this investigation is obviously entirely unsurprising. The only surprising element is only the long time taken to reach such an obvious conclusion. 

Infantino said: “This is a full and clear victory for me, for the new FIFA and for justice!

“It is now clear that the accusations against me were mere attempts by poor, envious and corrupt people to attack my reputation. If these people have some dignity left, they should at least have the decency and apologise for their actions and the damage caused.

“Indeed and with no surprise, the investigation fully and clearly confirms that I have always acted in a lawful and correct way, always defending exclusively the interests of FIFA and football.”