Fifa rejects suggestion of wrongdoing against president Gianni Infantino

Jeremy Wilson
·2-min read
Gianni Infantino - REUTERS
Gianni Infantino - REUTERS

Fifa has rejected any suggestion of wrongdoing against its president, Gianni Infantino, and said it is “100 per cent” certain that the criminal investigation will not result in a charge.

Stefan Keller, the Swiss special federal prosecutor, announced the investigation last week but, in a press briefing on Monday, Fifa’s deputy general secretary Alasdair Bell said that world football’s governing body had received no notification of any allegations.

The investigation relates to meetings in 2016 and 2017 between Infantino and Switzerland’s then attorney general, Michael Lauber, who was investigating various previous allegations of Fifa corruption. Bell was asked about Infantino’s failure to keep notes of the meeting.

“It’s almost preposterous to suggest that because someone doesn’t remember the details of a meeting, therefore something criminal should have been discussed,” Bell said.

“I don’t really think it’s reckless not to take minutes when the Fifa president meets the attorney general of the country. You don’t really expect when you go to meet the most senior prosecutor in the country, to have a discussion about governance reform at Fifa, to have a discussion about the ongoing cases involving Fifa... after that to end up yourself being the subject of a criminal investigation.”

Bell said Infantino was meeting Lauber to show Fifa had moved on from the Sepp Blatter era, which ended in 2015.

“You go there in order to demonstrate your willingness to cooperate, the organisation has turned a new chapter,” Bell said. “It’s a kind of a high-level type meeting and not really one you would take detailed minutes.

“There is something a little grotesque and unfair in all this because we are 100 per cent confident there will never be a criminal charge against the Fifa president.” The supervisory body that oversees Lauber's office had ruled last month that it “seriously violated his official and legal duties”, prompting the lawyer to stand down from his post.

Fifa also said that Infantino would “respect” any decision made by its ethics committee, even if it chose to suspend him pending the investigation.