FIFA Prez is Dismayed by the Panama Link
Fifa president Gianni Infantino is "dismayed" and "will not accept" that his integ rity is being doubted, in relation to documents leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
Infantino, in his former role as UEFA director of legal services, reportedly signed off a television contract in 2006 with two businessmen who have since been caught up in football's corruption scandal.Both he and UEFA issued statements on Tuesday evening, the Swiss unhappy with the media's portrayal of the situation and insisting the European governing body had already "disclosed in detail all facts regarding these contracts". Infantino said: "I am dismayed and will not accept that my integrity is being doubted by certain areas of the media, especially given that UEFA has already disclosed in detail all facts regarding these contracts. "From the moment I was made aware of the latest media enquiries on the matter, I immediately contacted UEFA to seek clarity. I did this because I am no longer with UEFA, and it is they who exclusively possess all contractual information relating to this query. In the meantime, UEFA has announced that it has been conducting a review of its numerous commercial contracts and has answered extensively all media questions related to these specific contracts."
Infantino was reportedly involved in concluding a deal for Champions League football broadcast rights in Ecuador during 2006 with businessmen Hugo and Mariano Jinkis. The contract was also co-signed by another UEFA director, as is standard practice. Among the 11 million documents leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, it is claimed the rights were immediately sold on by the South American duo - owners of offshore company Cross Trading - for almost three times the price. The leaked documents were obtained by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.
Like Infantino, UEFA also expressed its dismay at suggestions of any wrongdoing - before accusing the media of misleading the public with such talk.
Its statement read: "UEFA is dismayed by certain stories in the media suggesting that there might have been untoward or improper conduct in connection with a television rights contract concluded with a company based in Ecuador in 2006. "For the record, and as repeatedly explained to the media, there was never any suggestion that anything improper took place. These explanations have been conveyed to the media in a clear, reasonable, and perfectly transparent way. It is therefore all the more regrettable that, despite the explanations given, some sections of the media have chosen to misrepresent matters and mislead the public by suggesting or implying otherwise.
UEFA continued: "For the record, neither UEFA nor Gianni Infantino have ever been contacted by any authorities in connection with this particular contract. Of course, if UEFA is contacted for any reason then it will be more than happy to cooperate.