The first 100 days of Gianni Infantino’s reign as FIFA President have been given a red card by lobby group #NewFIFANow at a press conference in London. In other words, the old guy is the same as the new guy.
It will take an exceptionally awful reign by Infantino to reach the dismal low of the disgraceful Sepp Blatter and his cronies – as evidenced by allegations Blatter and his General-Secretary Jerome Valcke awarded themselves up to $80 million in bonuses – but as #NewFIFANow highlights, it is wishful thinking that a man whose career is intrinsically woven into the fabric of the obsequious “football family” is the person to bring meaningful transparency and change.
On Thursday, German newspaper Die Welt reported Infantino was under an internal FIFA investigation for allegedly ordering senior FIFA officials to delete recordings of a controversial meeting of the FIFA Council, formerly the executive committee, before last month’s Mexico City Congress.
Reuters reported: “the Swiss newspaper Tagesanzeiger published copies of emails it said were exchanged between FIFA officials and which it said confirmed they were obeying instructions to wipe out a recording.
FIFA said in an emailed statement on Thursday that one recording had been deleted because it was stored improperly, but the original audio file still existed and was properly archived”.
FIFA’s Congress in Mexico last week passed a resolution giving the FIFA Council – previously known as the Executive Committee – the power to appoint or dismiss members of its independent watchdog committee.
This gave the Council, headed by Infantino, the right to fire ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert and ethics investigator Cornel Borbely and the head of the audit and compliance committee, Domenico Scala. Scala, who had overseen the FIFA reforms, resigned in protest the following day, saying the resolution undermined recent reforms.
“We already know that FIFA has failed football over the past decades,” said Bonita Mersiades, a founder of #NewFIFANow. “On the basis of Gianni Infantino’s first 100 days, we believe he is heading the same way.”