Infantino blames 'fake news' for FIFA woes

May 12, 2017
FIFA president Gianni Infantino


Gianni Infantino waged a strident defence of his FIFA leadership by lashing out at "fake news" and "alternative facts" circulated about a governing body he insists has recovered its reputation and can be trusted.

Addressing his second congress of football nations as FIFA president, Infantino yesterday invoked the rhetoric favoured by US President Donald Trump to take on his critics by also lambasting experts who "miserably failed" and promoting his "football first" agenda.

Infantino later acknowledged he could not support his "fake news" outburst with facts.

He was under pressure at his second congress since replacing Sepp Blatter as world football's leader in February 2016, with questions about the power he is exerting overshadowing the gathering.

FIFA's top ethics officials judge Hans-Joachim Eckert and prosecutor Cornel Borbely were ousted by Infantino this week, and the disgruntled pair accused the president of jeopardising the reform of the organisation. Only pressure from criminal authorities forced FIFA to overhaul its structures to dilute the power of the presidency and show it can be trusted.

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