INFANTINO SLAMS ‘FAKE NEWS’

Fifa supremo de­fends record as Sk­ouris takes over as head of ethics com­mit­tee

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MANAMA “Fake news, al­ter­na­tive facts, these terms did not ex­ist un­til some time ago, they have be­come en vogue.

“There’s a lot of fake news and al­ter­na­tive facts about Fifa cir­cu­lat­ing — Fifa-bash­ing has be­come a na­tional sport, es­pe­cially in some coun­tries.”

Asked af­ter­wards to give an ex­am­ple of fake news, Infantino re­sponded: “Gen­er­ally, it’s my feel­ing.”

But, al­ter­nat­ing be­tween English, French, Ger­man and Span­ish, Infantino said his or­gan­i­sa­tion was now dif­fer­ent.

“Nunca mas — never again,” Infantino added in ref­er­ence to cor­rup­tion once more rear­ing its ugly head.

Infantino, whose crit­ics main­tain he has not shown a real com­mit­ment to re­form, also told those who wanted to en­rich them­selves through foot­ball to leave Fifa.

“If there is any­one in this room or out­side of this room who still thinks he can en­rich him­self, he can abuse foot­ball, I have one clear and strong mes­sage to tell him: leave, leave foot­ball and leave foot­ball now,” added Infantino.

Get­ting into his stride, he also reaf­firmed his be­lief that Fifa’s fi­nances were healthy, say­ing: “We don’t have to bull­shit with al­ter­na­tive fig­ures.”

Infantino also crit­i­cised “highly-paid ex­perts” who did lit­tle to help re­form.

“In the past, many highly-paid ex­perts paid mil­lions have been hired by Fifa to help re­form Fifa, but what did they do? They sim­ply rub­ber-stamped a wrong sys­tem.”

The de­ci­sion to re­place Eck­ert and Bor­bely caught the head­lines ear­lier in the week, but there was no con­tro­versy in­side the Congress hall where del­e­gates backed the pro­posal with 97 per cent of the votes.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tors claimed their re­moval, at the end of their fouryear term, would put back Fifa re­form as hun­dreds of cases were still out­stand­ing.

Infantino, though, said the row was “a storm in a teacup” and ques­tioned why they had left so many cases re­main­ing.

How­ever, he failed to con­vince ev­ery­one.

Jor­dan’s Prince Ali Bin Al-Hus­sein said af­ter­wards that things hadn’t moved on from Infantino’s pre­de­ces­sor, Sepp Blat­ter.

“I think it is fairly ob­vi­ous that a lot of things have not changed,” said Prince Ali.

Also yes­ter­day, a de­ci­sion on Is­raeli clubs play­ing in the West Bank was pushed back un­til Oc­to­ber.

The Congress, mean­while, rat­i­fied a de­ci­sion to open up the bid­ding process for the 2026 World Cup to any fed­er­a­tion ex­cept those from Asia and Europe.

Infantino also raised the prospect of a “world women’s league“, but gave no fur­ther de­tails. AFP

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