FIFA president Infantino affected ‘greatly’ by accusations

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FIFA President, Gianni Infantino
FIFA President, Gianni Infantino

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said accusations of wrong-doing regarding meetings with Switzerland’s attorney general have “affected me greatly.”

Speaking at the Swiss Economic Forum in Montreux on Thursday, the world football governing body chief addressed meetings he held with the country’s former attorney general Michael Lauber.

“We have invested so much to change FIFA,” he said. “It is precisely because of all the investment we have made in the new-found credibility of FIFA, it has really hit me hard.”

Possible offences by Infantino include abuse of public office, breach of official secrecy, assisting offenders and incitement to these acts, the Swiss judicial oversight authority said.

“I met with the Federal Prosecutor because I wanted to finally banish the shadows of FIFA’s past, because you cannot lead an organization into the future if you haven’t dealt with its past,” Infantino.

“It was very clear to me that I had to do everything I could to get FIFA back on the right track,” Infantino said. “Part of that was to meet with the Federal Prosecutor to see how we could speed up the ongoing proceedings, some of which are still pending even now.”

The meetings with Lauber took place in 2016 and 2017, as Swiss prosecutors were looking into alleged FIFA corruption following the downfall of Infantino’s predecessor Joseph Blatter, including how Russia and Qatar had won the right to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

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