ZURICH: Gianni Infantino’s visit to Rome last week for an audience with Pope Francis has become the latest focus of attention in FIFA’s latest storm-tossed week writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The Swiss lawyer, his wife and mother were received by the Pope in Rome but media reports in Switzerland and Germany raised questions over the source of funding of their privately-organised flight.
Infantino, after attending the Champions League Final in Milan on May 29, flew on to Rome and then back in Geneva.
FIFA ethics regulations specifically prohibit directors and officials from entering into arrangements which might be perceived as a conflict of interests.
This is not the first instance of Infantino’s travel arrangements being questioned. In April he flew on FIFA World Cup business to Russia and then Qatar.
FIFA organised the Moscow flight but a suitable airline transfer to Doha was not available so Infantino and his party travelled by private jet. The Gulf state organised the return trip to Switzerland.
Infantino told FIFA Council last month that he had been assured a complaint against him to the ethics committee had “gone straight into the bin.”
Other media reports have claimed that a critical 14-page document concerning Infantino had been compiled by Markus Kattner, the German who was fired from his role as interim secretary-general two weeks ago.
Last Friday FIFA’s United States legal adviser, Quinn Emanuel, revealed that Kattner, former secretary-general Jerome Valcke and ex-president Sepp Blatter, had paid themselves $80m including bonuses over the past five years for running FIFA.
A FIFA spokesperson, asked for a comment about Infantino’s Rome travel, said: “This was a private journey of Gianni Infantino and did not involve any FIFA resources. FIFA generally does not comment on private activities of its staff members including the president.”