Giovanni Vincenzo "Gianni" Infantino (Italian pronunciation: [dʒoˈvanni vinˈtʃɛntso iɱfanˈtiːno]; born 23 March 1970) is a Swiss–Italian football administrator and the current president of FIFA. He was elected President of FIFA during the 2016 FIFA Extraordinary Congress on 26 February 2016. He was reelected as FIFA President on 5 June 2019. On 10 January 2020 he was elected a member of the International Olympic Committee.
|9th President of FIFA|
|Assumed office |
26 February 2016
|Vice President||Patrice Motsepe|
Ángel María Villar
Salman Bin Khalifa
|Preceded by||Issa Hayatou (Acting)|
Giovanni Vincenzo Infantino
23 March 1970
|Spouse(s)||Leena Al Ashqar|
|Alma mater||University of Fribourg|
Gianni Infantino was born on 23 March 1970 in Brig, Switzerland. He is a son of Italian immigrant parents from Calabria and Lombardy. He studied law at the University of Fribourg. He is fluent in Italian, Spanish, French, and German. Infantino also speaks English, Portuguese and Arabic.
Gianni Infantino started working with the UEFA in August 2000, and was appointed as the Director of UEFA's Legal Affairs and Club Licensing Division in January 2004. He became Deputy General Secretary of UEFA in 2007, and Secretary General of UEFA in October 2009. During his time there, UEFA introduced Financial Fair Play and improved commercial support to smaller national associations.
He oversaw the expansion of UEFA Euro 2016 to 24 teams and played a role in the conception of the UEFA Nations League and the UEFA Euro 2020, that took place in then 13 (now 11) European nations.
In 2015, the Greek government decided to introduce a new sports law in response to the recent scandal and acts of violence and corruption mainly in Greek football. Gianni Infantino, as UEFA's general secretary, led the negotiations with the Greek government and supported the Hellenic Football Federation's warning to Greece that it faces suspension from international football for government interference.
Infantino was a member of FIFA's Reform Committee. On 26 October 2015, he received the backing of the UEFA Executive Committee to stand for the position of president in the 2016 FIFA Extraordinary Congress. On the same day, he confirmed his candidacy and submitted the required declarations of support. He promised to expand the FIFA World Cup to forty teams.
On 26 February 2016, he was elected FIFA President for a period of three years. Swiss man Infantino holds dual citizenship through his parents. With his election, he became the first Italian to hold the Presidency of FIFA.
In 2017, Infantino criticized the United States travel ban on several Muslim-majority nations. He said "When it comes to FIFA competitions, any team, including the supporters and officials of that team, who qualify for a World Cup need to have access to the country, otherwise there is no World Cup. That is obvious."
In Iran, after the 1979 Islamic revolution, women had been banned from stadiums when men's teams are playing. Infantino repeatedly warned Iranian football federation and Islamic Republic of Iran authorities about Iranian women's rights. On 8 September 2019, Sahar Khodayari self-immolated after being arrested for trying to enter a stadium.
Our position is clear and firm. Women have to be allowed into football stadiums in Iran. Now is the moment to change things.Infantino, September 2019
Following that incident, FIFA assured that Iranian women are able to attend stadiums starting from October 2019. On 10 October 2019, more than 3,500 women attended the Azadi Stadium for a World Cup qualifier against Cambodia.
Infantino was implicated in the FIFA corruption scandal in documents released in the 2016 Panama Papers. They show that UEFA undertook deals with indicted figures where previously they had denied any relationship. Infantino has stated he is "dismayed" at the reports and that he has never personally dealt with the parties involved.
FIFA ethics investigationsEdit
The investigation was focused on three areas: "several flights taken by Mr. Infantino during the first months of his presidency, human resources matters related to hiring processes in the president's office, and Mr. Infantino's refusal to sign the contract specifying his employment relationship with FIFA".
Even though a document was leaked which showed illegitimate spending of funds by FIFA the matter concerning expenses and governance was not investigated. The document revealed that Infantino had billed FIFA for personal expenses such as £8,795 for mattresses at his home, £6,829 for a stepper exercise machine, £1,086 for a tuxedo, £677 on flowers and £132 on personal laundry. In addition to that he billed the FIFA governing body for an external driver for his family and advisors while he was away.
When Infantino accepted special treatment by the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts Russia and Qatar, the question of a potential conflict of interest was raised. The hosts had organized private jets for Infantino and his staff related to visits in Russia and the Gulf state. The investigatory chamber was of the opinion that no violation had occurred. In addition to that, the chamber found that "human resources matters, as well as Mr. Infantino's conduct with regard to his contract with FIFA, if at all, constituted internal compliance issues rather than an ethical matter."
While the investigatory chamber discharged Infantino, this did not stop criticism. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of FC Bayern München, criticized Infantino for not fulfilling his promises regarding transparency, democracy and governance. "So far this has not succeeded in my eyes," he complained.
In July 2020 further allegations arose when Infantino was accused of having a secret meeting with Michael Lauber, the Attorney General of Switzerland. Lauber offered to resign after a court said he covered up the meeting and lied to supervisors during an investigation by his office into corruption surrounding FIFA. Infantino responded to the allegation by defending himself claiming "To meet with the attorney general of Switzerland is perfectly legitimate and it's perfectly legal. It's no violation of anything."
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- FIFA.com. "Who We Are - News - Gianni Infantino is re-elected as FIFA President until 2023 - FIFA.com". www.fifa.com. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
- "IOC Session elects three new Members - Olympic News". International Olympic Committee. 10 January 2020. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
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- Borden, Sam (2016-02-24). "In FIFA Pitch, Gianni Infantino Pushes Expansion and Continuity". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- "Thirteen cities to host UEFA EURO 2020". UEFA.com. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- "UEFA & FIFA warn Greece over government's planned new football laws |thetoc.gr". The TOC In English. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- Nicholson, Paul. "Exclusive: Infantino fires second warning shot to Greece over football law proposal - Inside World Football". www.insideworldfootball.com. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- "FIFA Committees - 2016 FIFA Reform Committee - FIFA.com". FIFA.com. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- "Statement from UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino". UEFA.com. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- Associated Press (2015-11-10). "Gianni Infantino to expand World Cup to 40 teams if elected Fifa president". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- "Donald Trump travel ban could prevent USA from hosting 2026 World Cup". The Independent. 9 March 2017.
- Johnstone, Lindsey (2019-10-11). "Watch: Iranian women attend first football match in 40 years". euronews. Retrieved 2019-10-14.
- "هشدار دوباره فیفا به ایران: به زنان باید اجازه حضور در ورزشگاه داده شود". euronews (in Persian). 2019-09-19. Retrieved 2019-10-14.
- "Fifa 'assured' Iranian women will be able to attend football matches". BBC News. 22 September 2019.
- Johnstone, Lindsey (2019-09-19). "Watch: FIFA tells Iran women must be allowed into stadiums". euronews. Retrieved 2019-10-14.
- "Iran football: Women attend first match in decades". BBC Sport. 10 October 2019.
- Owen Gibson. "Panama Papers: Fifa president Gianni Infantino pulled into corruption scandal". the Guardian.
- "Statement from FIFA President Gianni Infantino". FIFA.com. 5 April 2016.
- "Fifa president Gianni Infantino to be interviewed by ethics committee". BBC Sport. 2016-07-14. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
- "Fifa president Gianni Infantino cleared of breaching ethics code". The Independent. 2016-08-05. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
- "German power players Rummenigge and Grindel slam Infantino presidency". Inside World Football. 2017-03-01. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
- "Gianni Infantino: Legal proceedings launched against Fifa president". BBC. 2020-07-30. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
- "Infantino presidente Fifa: ecco l'ex re dei sorteggi che amava Altobelli" [Infantino FIFA president: here is the ex-king of draws who loved Altobelli]. Gazzetta.it (in Italian). Retrieved 27 February 2016.
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