FIFA elects Infantino as new president

By The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 27, 2016 at 1:30 AM
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Switzerland's Gianni Infantino has succeeded disgraced Sepp Blatter as the new president of FIFA after winning election in Zurich on Friday.

Infantino, a 45-year-old general secretary of the Union of European Football Associations, is a lawyer and sports administrator who joined European's governing body in 2000 and rose through the ranks.

Infantino became FIFA's first new president in 18 years. Blatter is serving a six-year ban by soccer's international governing body following a corruption scandal.

Blatter and Michel Platini, who was FIFA's vice president and head of UEFA, had their bans from soccer reduced from eight years to six by FIFA's appeal body on Wednesday. Blatter was found guilty of violating ethics rules, allegations that centered around a $2 million payment Blatter approved for Platin.

Infantino was elected in the second round of voting with 115 of the 207 votes from FIFA's national associations, defeating Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, who received 88 votes.

"We will restore the image of FIFA and everyone will applaud us," Infantino said Friday in his acceptance speech.

In the first ballot, Infantino fell 50 votes short of securing the election after no candidate earned the required two-thirds majority. In the second round of voting, only a simple majority was needed to win the election.

"I want to be the president of all of you," Infantino told the delegates after his victory. "I travelled through the globe and I will continue to do this. I want to work with all of you to restore and rebuild a new era where we can put football in the center of the stage.

"FIFA has gone through sad times, moments of crisis. But those times are over. We need to implement the reforms, we need to have good governance and transparency. But we also need to have respect. We will regain this respect by hard work and dedication, so we can again concentrate on the wonderful game of football."

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