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Giovanni Vincenzo "Gianni" Infantino (Italian pronunciation: [dʒoˈvanni vinˈtʃɛntso iɱfanˈtiːno]; born 23 March 1970) is a Swiss–Italian[1][2] football administrator and the current president of FIFA. He was elected President of FIFA during the 2016 FIFA Extraordinary Congress on 26 February 2016.[1]

Gianni Infantino
Gianni Infantino (32879983122).jpg
9th President of FIFA
Assumed office
26 February 2016
Vice President Issa Hayatou
Ángel María Villar
David Chung
Preceded by Issa Hayatou (Acting)
Personal details
Born Giovanni Vincenzo Infantino
(1970-03-23) 23 March 1970 (age 48)
Brig, Switzerland
Spouse(s) Leena Al Ashqar
Children 4
Alma mater University of Fribourg
Signature

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Gianni Infantino was born on 23 March 1970[1] in Brig, Switzerland.[3] He is a son of Italian immigrant parents from Calabria and Lombardy.[4] He studied law at the University of Fribourg.[5] He is fluent in Italian, English, French, and German. Infantino also knows Spanish, and Arabic.[3]

CareerEdit

Infantino worked as the Secretary General of the International Center for Sports Studies (CIES) at the University of Neuchâtel.[1]

UEFAEdit

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.[1][6] During his time there, UEFA introduced Financial Fair Play and improved commercial support to smaller national associations.[6]

He oversaw the expansion of UEFA Euro 2016 to 24 teams[7] and played a role in the conception of the UEFA Nations League and the UEFA Euro 2020, that will take place in 13 European nations.[8]

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.[9][10]

FIFAEdit

 
Infantino with Mohammad bin Salman, Nicolas Sarkozy and Juan Carlos Varela at the FIFA World Cup in Russia, 14 June 2018
 
Infantino with Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, 7 July 2018

Infantino was a member of FIFA's Reform Committee.[11] 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.[12] He promised to expand the FIFA World Cup to forty teams.[13]

On 26 February 2016, he was elected FIFA President for a period of three years.[2] 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."[14]

Before the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Infantino stated in February of that year that he is "very satisfied so far with the progress in Russia. I’m sure we’ll have a great World Cup there – not only a great World Cup but the best World Cup ever."[15]

Panama PapersEdit

Infantino was implicated in the FIFA corruption scandal in documents released in the 2016 Panama Papers. They show that the UEFA undertook deals with indicted figures where previously they had denied any relationship.[16] Infantino has stated he is "dismayed" at the reports and that he has never personally dealt with the parties involved.[17]

FIFA ethics investigationsEdit

In July 2016, Infantino was suspected to have broken the FIFA code of ethics, and was interviewed by the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee.[18]

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".[19]

Even though a document was leaked which showed illegitimate spending of funds by FIFA[18] the matter concerning expenses and governance was not investigated.[19] 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.[18]

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.[18] 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."[19]

While the investigatory chamber discharged Infantino, this did not stop criticism. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, a former German football champion, criticized Infantino for not fulfilling his promises regarding transparency, democracy and governance. "So far this has not succeeded in my eyes," he complained.[20]

Personal lifeEdit

Infantino is married to Lebanese Leena Al Ashqar; the couple have four children (Alessia, Sabrina, Shanïa Serena and Dhalia Nora).[3] He is a fan of the Italian Serie A club Inter Milan.[21]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e "Gianni Infantino". UEFA.com. 8 January 2010. Archived from the original on 16 January 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Gianni Infantino elected FIFA President". FIFA.com. 26 February 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "The President - Gianni Infantino". FIFA. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  4. ^ "Infantino, l'avvocato di origini calabresi che tifava Inter" (in Italian). sportmediaset.it. 26 February 2016. 
  5. ^ "Everything you need to know about Gianni Infantino, the new Fifa president". The Guardian. 26 February 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "UEFA Executive Committee supports UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino for FIFA presidency". UEFA.com. Retrieved 26 February 2016. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ "Thirteen cities to host UEFA EURO 2020". UEFA.com. Retrieved 26 February 2016. 
  9. ^ "UEFA & FIFA warn Greece over government's planned new football laws |thetoc.gr". The TOC In English. Retrieved 26 February 2016. 
  10. ^ Nicholson, Paul. "Exclusive: Infantino fires second warning shot to Greece over football law proposal - Inside World Football". www.insideworldfootball.com. Retrieved 26 February 2016. 
  11. ^ "FIFA Committees - 2016 FIFA Reform Committee - FIFA.com". FIFA.com. Retrieved 26 February 2016. 
  12. ^ "Statement from UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino". UEFA.com. Retrieved 26 February 2016. 
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ "Donald Trump travel ban could prevent USA from hosting 2026 World Cup". The Independent. 9 March 2017. 
  15. ^ "Gianni Infantino satisfied with Russia's World Cup preparations". Win World Cup 2018. 28 February 2018. 
  16. ^ Owen Gibson. "Panama Papers: Fifa president Gianni Infantino pulled into corruption scandal". the Guardian. 
  17. ^ "Statement from FIFA President Gianni Infantino". FIFA.com. 5 April 2016. 
  18. ^ a b c d "Fifa president Gianni Infantino to be interviewed by ethics committee". BBC Sport. 2016-07-14. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 
  19. ^ a b c "Fifa president Gianni Infantino cleared of breaching ethics code". The Independent. 2016-08-05. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 
  20. ^ "German power players Rummenigge and Grindel slam Infantino presidency". Inside World Football. 2017-03-01. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 
  21. ^ "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. 

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Lars-Christer Olsson
UEFA Chief Executive
2007
Succeeded by
David Taylor
Preceded by
David Taylor
UEFA General Secretary
2009–2016
Succeeded by
Theodore Theodoridis (ad interim)
Preceded by
Issa Hayatou (Acting)
FIFA President
2016–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent