Infantino slams Fifa ‘fake news’ and defends record

Manama: Gianni Infantino slammed “fake news” and “alternative facts” surrounding Fifa and insisted football’s scandal-ridden governing body had changed in an impassioned speech to its annual congress in Bahrain on Thursday.
Fifteen months after being elected as president to bring forward wholesale change to a disgraced organisation, Infantino also claimed Fifa’s corruption crisis was over and would never happen again.
The Congress confirmed that the two men responsible for rooting out corruption in the world game — Hans-Joachim Eckert and Cornel Borbely — would be replaced.
The meeting backed the recommendation of the all-powerful Fifa Council, chaired by Infantino, to replace them with the former president of the European Court of Justice Vassilios Skouris of Greece and Colombia’s Maria Claudia Rojas.
But Infantino denied this had put back any anti-corruption agenda.
“Fifa has changed now, this is a new Fifa and we are new people here and we act with facts, not with words,” he told Congress.
Invoking Donald Trump
Infantino then invoked American President Donald Trump: “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. — AFP