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New FIFA president: Everyone will be proud of what we will do

By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   Feb. 26, 2016 at 1:18 PM

ZURICH, Switzerland, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Gianni Infantino was elected president of FIFA, soccer's global organizing body, in the second round of balloting Friday in Zurich, Switzerland.

The first round of balloting, in which 209 national soccer organizations participated, was inconclusive; Infantino received 88 votes compared to 85 for his nearest rival, Sheikh Salman, but not enough for a two-thirds majority. In the second round, where a simple majority was sufficient for victory, Infantino received 115 votes. Salman received 88, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein received four and Jerome Champagne received none.

Infantino, 45, of Switzerland, replaces Joseph "Sepp" Blatter, who presided over FIFA for 20 years and was barred from the election process because of ethics violations. FIFA is under investigation by U.S. and Swiss authorities for bribery and corruption in connection with awarding the 2018 World Cup, soccer's most prestigious tournament, to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Twelve FIFA executives are among nearly 40 people charged in the investigation.

Infantino has been secretary-general, FIFA's second-most-powerful office, since 2009.

"I cannot express my feelings in this moment. I told you I went through an exceptional journey, which made me meet many fantastic people, who live and breathe football, and many people deserve to see FIFA is highly respected. Everyone in the world will applaud us for what we will do. Everyone will be proud of what we will do," Infantino said in his victory speech.

Outside Zurich's Hallenstadion, the arena where the FIFA meeting took place, protesters accused Salman of complicity in alleged torture in Bahrain, his home country.

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