Gianni Infantino

Last updated
Gianni Infantino
Gianni Infantino 2018.jpg
9th President of FIFA
Assumed office
26 February 2016
Vice President Issa Hayatou
Ángel María Villar
David Chung
Salman Bin Khalifa
Preceded by Issa Hayatou (Acting)
Personal details
Born
Giovanni Vincenzo Infantino

(1970-03-23) 23 March 1970 (age 49)
Brig, Switzerland
Spouse(s)Leena Al Ashqar
Children4
Alma mater University of Fribourg
Signature Gianni Infantino autograph.svg

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] He was reelected as FIFA President on 5 June 2019. [3]

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

FIFA International governing body of association football

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association is a non-profit organization which describes itself as an international governing body of association football, fútsal, beach soccer, and efootball. It is the highest governing body of football.

The 2016 FIFA Extraordinary Congress was held at the Hallenstadion in Zürich, Switzerland, on 26 February 2016. This special session of the FIFA Congress, called as a result of the 2015 FIFA corruption case, included the passage of a major statutory reforms proposal as well as the election of Gianni Infantino to replace Sepp Blatter as the President of FIFA.

Contents

Early life

Gianni Infantino was born on 23 March 1970 [1] in Brig, Switzerland. [4] He is a son of Italian immigrant parents from Calabria and Lombardy. [5] He studied law at the University of Fribourg. [6] He is fluent in Italian, English, French, and German. Infantino also knows some Spanish and Arabic. [4]

Brig-Glis Place in Valais, Switzerland

Brig, officially Brig-Glis is a historic town and a municipality in the district of Brig in the canton of Valais in Switzerland.

Switzerland Federal republic in Central Europe

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a sovereign state situated in the confluence of western, central, and southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities seated in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi), and land area of 39,997 km2 (15,443 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are located, among them the two global cities and economic centres of Zürich and Geneva.

Italians nation and ethnic group native to Italy

Italians are a Romance ethnic group and nation native to the Italian peninsula and its neighbouring insular territories. Italians share a common culture, history, ancestry and language.

Career

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

University of Neuchâtel French-speaking university based in Neuchâtel, Switzerland

The University of Neuchâtel (UniNE) is a French-speaking university based in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. The university has four faculties (schools) and more than a dozen institutes, including arts and human sciences, natural sciences, law and economics. The Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences, with 2,000 students, is the largest school of those that comprise the University of Neuchâtel.

UEFA

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] [7] During his time there, UEFA introduced Financial Fair Play and improved commercial support to smaller national associations. [7]

UEFA international sport governing body

The Union of European Football Associations is the administrative body for association football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, although several member states are primarily or entirely located in Asia. It is one of six continental confederations of world football's governing body FIFA. UEFA consists of 55 national association members.

He oversaw the expansion of UEFA Euro 2016 to 24 teams [8] 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. [9]

UEFA Euro 2016 2016 edition of the UEFA Euro

The 2016 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA Euro 2016 or simply Euro 2016, was the 15th UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international men's football championship of Europe organised by UEFA. It was held in France from 10 June to 10 July 2016. Spain were the two-time defending champions, having won the 2008 and 2012 tournaments, but were eliminated in the round of 16 by Italy. Portugal won the tournament for the first time, following a 1–0 victory after extra time over the host team, France, in the final played at the Stade de France.

UEFA Nations League international association football tournament

The UEFA Nations League is a biennial international football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the member associations of UEFA, the sport's European governing body.

UEFA Euro 2020 2020 edition of the UEFA Euro

The 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA Euro 2020 or simply Euro 2020, is scheduled to be the 16th UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international men's football championship of Europe organised by UEFA.

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. [10] [11]

The 2015 Greek football scandal emerged on 6 April 2015 when prosecutor Aristidis Korreas' 173-page work was revealed. Telephone tapping operated by the National Intelligence Service of Greece since 2011 has played a significant role in the case. According to the prosecutor's conclusion, Olympiakos F.C. owner Evangelos Marinakis along with Greek Football Federation members Theodoros Kouridis, and Georgios Sarris are suspected of directing a criminal organization since 2011. The goal behind their scheme was to "absolutely control Greek football's fate by the methods of blackmailing and fraud", exploiting the self-governing ("autonomy") status of national football federations promoted by FIFA and UEFA. Referees, judges, football directors and chairmen are also involved in the scandal. All defendants deny charges. Olympiakos are the champions of the Greek Superleague at the time.

Football is the most popular sport in Greece, followed by basketball.

Hellenic Football Federation governing body of association football in Greece

The Hellenic Football Federation (HFF), also known as the Greek Football Federation, is the governing body of football in Greece. It contributes in the organisation of Superleague Greece and organizes the Greek Cup and the Greece national team. It is based in Athens.

FIFA

Infantino with Mohammad bin Salman, Nicolas Sarkozy and Juan Carlos Varela at the FIFA World Cup in Russia, 14 June 2018 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony (2018-06-14) 29.jpg
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-Kitarovic, 7 July 2018 ChM po futbolu 2018 Rossiia Khorvatiia.jpg
Infantino with Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, 7 July 2018
Infantino with US President Donald Trump in 2019 President Trump Departs for North Carolina (48708002696) (cropped).jpg
Infantino with US President Donald Trump in 2019

Infantino was a member of FIFA's Reform Committee. [12] 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. [13] He promised to expand the FIFA World Cup to forty teams. [14]

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." [15]

Women's rights

In Iran, after the 1979 Islamic revolution women had been banned from stadiums when men's teams are playing. [16] Infantino repeatedly warned Iranian football federation and Islamic Republic of Iran authorities about Iranian women's rights. [17] On 8 September 2019, Sahar Khodayari self-immolated after being arrested for trying to enter a stadium. [18]

Our position is clear and firm. Women have to be allowed into football stadiums in Iran. Now is the moment to change things. [19] Infantino, September 2019

Following that incident, FIFA assured that Iranian women are able to attend stadiums starting from October 2019. [18] On 10 October 2019, more than 3,500 women attended the Azadi Stadium for a World Cup qualifier against Cambodia. [20]

Panama Papers

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. [21] Infantino has stated he is "dismayed" at the reports and that he has never personally dealt with the parties involved. [22]

FIFA ethics investigations

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. [23]

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". [24]

Even though a document was leaked which showed illegitimate spending of funds by FIFA [23] the matter concerning expenses and governance was not investigated. [24] 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. [23]

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. [23] 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." [24]

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. [25]

Personal life

Infantino is married to Lebanese Leena Al Ashqar; the couple have four children (Alessia, Sabrina, Shanïa Serena and Dhalia Nora). [4] He is a fan of the Italian Serie A club Inter Milan. [26]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Gianni Infantino". UEFA.com. 8 January 2010. Archived from the original on 16 January 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  2. 1 2 "Gianni Infantino elected FIFA President". FIFA.com. 26 February 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  3. FIFA.com. "Who We Are - News - Gianni Infantino is re-elected as FIFA President until 2023 - FIFA.com". www.fifa.com. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  4. 1 2 3 "The President - Gianni Infantino". FIFA. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  5. "Infantino, l'avvocato di origini calabresi che tifava Inter" (in Italian). sportmediaset.it. 26 February 2016.
  6. "Everything you need to know about Gianni Infantino, the new Fifa president". The Guardian. 26 February 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  7. 1 2 "UEFA Executive Committee supports UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino for FIFA presidency". UEFA.com. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  8. 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.
  9. "Thirteen cities to host UEFA EURO 2020". UEFA.com. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  10. "UEFA & FIFA warn Greece over government's planned new football laws |thetoc.gr". The TOC In English. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  11. Nicholson, Paul. "Exclusive: Infantino fires second warning shot to Greece over football law proposal - Inside World Football". www.insideworldfootball.com. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  12. "FIFA Committees - 2016 FIFA Reform Committee - FIFA.com". FIFA.com. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  13. "Statement from UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino". UEFA.com. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  14. 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.
  15. "Donald Trump travel ban could prevent USA from hosting 2026 World Cup". The Independent. 9 March 2017.
  16. Johnstone, Lindsey (2019-10-11). "Watch: Iranian women attend first football match in 40 years". euronews. Retrieved 2019-10-14.
  17. "هشدار دوباره فیفا به ایران: به زنان باید اجازه حضور در ورزشگاه داده شود". euronews (in Persian). 2019-09-19. Retrieved 2019-10-14.
  18. 1 2 "Fifa 'assured' Iranian women will be able to attend football matches". BBC News. 22 September 2019.
  19. Johnstone, Lindsey (2019-09-19). "Watch: FIFA tells Iran women must be allowed into stadiums". euronews. Retrieved 2019-10-14.
  20. "Iran football: Women attend first match in decades". BBC Sport. 10 October 2019.
  21. Owen Gibson. "Panama Papers: Fifa president Gianni Infantino pulled into corruption scandal". the Guardian.
  22. "Statement from FIFA President Gianni Infantino". FIFA.com. 5 April 2016.
  23. 1 2 3 4 "Fifa president Gianni Infantino to be interviewed by ethics committee". BBC Sport. 2016-07-14. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  24. 1 2 3 "Fifa president Gianni Infantino cleared of breaching ethics code". The Independent. 2016-08-05. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  25. "German power players Rummenigge and Grindel slam Infantino presidency". Inside World Football. 2017-03-01. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  26. "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.
Preceded by
Lars-Christer Olsson
UEFA Chief Executive
2007
Succeeded by
David Taylor
Preceded by
David Taylor
UEFA General Secretary
20092016
Succeeded by
Theodore Theodoridis (ad interim)
Preceded by
Issa Hayatou (Acting)
FIFA President
2016present
Succeeded by
Incumbent