Gianni Infantino blasts ‘fake news’ and ‘FIFA bashing’

11 May 2017

Gianni Infantino, the president of football’s governing body, FIFA, has criticised the media for spreading “fake news” about his attempts to rebuild the organisation in the wake of its high-profile corruption scandals.

Infantino, who took over from Sepp Blatter, who is serving a six-year ban for ethics breaches, said that “FIFA bashing” had become a “national sport in some countries”.

FIFA has faced criticism this week for its decision not to reappoint ethics committee chairmen Hans-Joachim Eckert and Cornel Borbely.

The pair called the move “politically motivated” and said it signalled the end of the reform process.

The ethics committee were looking into numerous cases of alleged wrongdoing before chief investigator Eckert and ethics adjudicator Borbely were ousted.

FIFA gave its reasons for appointing new candidates in a statement on Wednesday (10 May), saying it wanted to “better reflect the geographic and gender diversity that must be part of an international organisation like FIFA”.

The FIFA Council appointed María Claudia Rojas, former council of state in Colombia, and Vassilios Skouris, the former president of the European Court of Justice, to succeed the pair.

“Sadly, the truth is not necessarily what is true, but what people believe. There is a lot of fake news and alternative facts about FIFA circulating,” Infantino said at the FIFA Congress in Bahrain on Thursday.

During the speech, Infantino condemned corruption and stated that those wishing to “enrich themselves” by “abusing football” had no place in the game.

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