Infantino has full grip on FIFA
couldn’t have gone any better for Gianni Infantino on the eve of yesterday’s World Cup start.
His preferred candidates won the right to host the 2026 World Cup, he had praise heaped on him by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and received big applause when he announced that he would be running for re-election as FIFA president again next year.
It didn’t even matter that he wandered off in the wrong direction in the huge congress hall at Moscow’s Expocentre in an attempt to welcome Putin, who appeared on stage from the other end. Infantino apologetically raised his arms and rushed over to meet the president who didn’t disappoint him. “He stood at the helm of FIFA in very complicated times but he is very good as our frontman, as a true fighter,” Putin said of Infantino. The FIFA boss returned the compliment, clearly enjoying the back-patting: “From the bottom of our heart a big big big thank you to you Mr Putin for making us really feel part of the same team.” And he was also happy when the financially lucrative and overall safe bid by the United States, Canada and Mexico with its projected revenue of US$14.3b (RM56b) beat Morocco to host the 2026 tournament. Infantino confidently told members that FIFA’s credibility and finances had been restored under his leadership, which follows that of the nowbanned Joseph Blatter. And he left no doubt who was responsible for these alleged changes for the better after years marred by scandal.