Gianni Infantino, 45, has succeeded Sepp Blatter after being elected president at the FIFA Extraordinary Congress in Zurich, Switzerland on Friday. The Swiss-Italian lawyer was elected after just two rounds of voting, and was well ahead of Sheikh Salman from Bahrain, who finished in second place with 88 votes.
Infantino, who has served as UEFA’s secretary general since 2009, is only the ninth president of FIFA since it’s formation in 1904. In the aftermath of the vote Infantino said that the scandal-plagued governing body has gone through “sad times and crisis” and has vowed to restore the image of FIFA.
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“We will restore the image of FIFA and the respect of FIFA and everyone in the world will applaud us. I want to work with all of you together in order to restore and rebuild a new era of FIFA where we can put again football at the centre of the stage. FIFA has gone through sad times, moments of crisis, but those times are over. We need to implement the reform and implement good governance and transparency. We also need to have respect. We’re going to win back this respect through hard work, commitment and we’re going to make sure we can finally focus on this wonderful game that is football.”
~Gianni Infantino, newly elected FIFA president
Prior to the election on Friday the FIFA congress also passed a series of anti-corruption reforms aimed at making it more transparent and accountable. The reform package includes the dissolution of FIFA’s Executive Committee (to be replaced by a new 36 member council), term limits and integrity checks for high-level FIFA officials and increased independent oversight.