KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: FIFA president Gianni Infantino has expressed full confidence in Paraguayan Alejandro Dominguez lead South American into a brave new era, freed from the power of the corrupt cliques who commanded the continental game for decades.

Infantino was talking ahead of next month’s first full meeting of the new FIFA Council in Zurich following the further structural reforms of the world football federation’s administration which were endorsed by congress in February.

In February FIFA blocked its annual share-out of $10m to CONMEBOL in the wake of revelations from the United States Justice Department’s FIFAGate investigation about widespread corruption among federation presidents and executive committee delegates.

The past three presidents of CONMEBOL have all been indicted on corruption charges by the US judicial authorities.

Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay, has already been extradited to the United States, while Eugenio Figueredo of Uruguay faces charges in his own country and long-time CONMEBOL supremo Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay is contesting extradition on grounds of age and ill health.

Hence the appointment of yet another Paraguayan in 44-year-old Dominguez who also thus became a vice-president of FIFA. Dominguez hopes structural and administrative changes, including the departure of controversial director general Gorka Villar, will lead shortly to the end of the FIFA cash freeze.

Infantino, speaking at the side of an ethics conference* in Zurich, said: “I think it’s only positive that the statutes have been amended and there is a new leadership in CONMEBOL and a new team team in place.

“There are many challenges ahead but this is a very, very important step in the right direction and FIFA will be there to help and assist. Whether it is enough will be shown by the facts at the end of the day.

“You can have the best regulations in the world but if you don’t abide by them it will not be any help. But I’m very confident that, with Alejandro Dominguez and his team, CONMEBOL is on the right path.”

** The 2nd World Summit on Ethics and Leadership was organised by the World Forum for Ethics in Business in cooperation with the International Association for Human Values, Marti Communications and TLEX Ltd at FIFA headquarters in Zurich.

# # # #