Gianni Infantino has been cleared of wrongdoing following a FIFA investigation into his expenses, recruitment and alleged sacking of whistleblowers.
He took charge of soccer’s world governing body in February after the disgraced Sepp Blatter resigned.
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FIFA’s ethics committee found no “conflicts of interest” and no breaches of the organization’s ethics code.
“The benefits enjoyed by Mr. Infantino were not considered improper,” it said.
A leaked internal FIFA memo outlined a series of claims relating to 46-year-old Gianni Infantino. The claims were that he: left himself exposed to claims of a possible conflict of interest by using private jets laid on by a World Cup bidding country; filled senior posts without checking people’s eligibility for the role; billed FIFA for mattresses, flowers, a tuxedo, an exercise machine and personal laundry; demanded FIFA hire an external driver, who then billed the governing body for driving his family and advisors around while he was abroad.
Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura has become FIFA’s first female secretary general as she was appointed to succeed former secretary general Jerome Valcke, who was banned from soccer-related activity for 12 years.
The 54-year-old Senegalese spent 21 years working for the United Nations and will start at soccer’s governing body in June.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “It is essential FIFA incorporates fresh perspectives as we continue to restore and rebuild our organization.
“She has a proven ability to build and lead teams, and improve the way organizations perform. Importantly for FIFA, she also understands that transparency and accountability are at the heart of any well-run and responsible organization.”
Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura’s appointment, announced at FIFA’s congress in Mexico City, completes a new-look to an organization which has been dogged by corruption allegations under Jerome Valcke and previous president Sepp Blatter.
Sepp Blatter, who had led FIFA since 1998, stood down in 2015 and was later suspended from soccer for six years for breaching ethics guidelines.
Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura, who will undergo an eligibility check before her role is ratified, currently works for the UN in Nigeria, and speaks four languages.
She started her UN career as a senior logistics officer with the World Food Program in Rome in 1995 and has since served as country representative or director in six African countries, including Nigeria.
At her appointment, Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura said: “Today is a wonderful day for me, and I am honored to take on this role.
“This role is a perfect fit for my skills and experience – strategic, high-impact team building in international settings – which I will use to help grow the game of football all over the world.
“I also look forward to bringing my experience in governance and compliance to bear on the important reform work that is already underway at FIFA.
“FIFA is taking a fresh approach to its work – and I am eager to play a role in making that approach as effective and lasting as possible.”
It follows the naming of ex-secretary general Gianni Infantino – now president of world soccer’s governing body FIFA – in papers leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
Meanwhile, a FIFA official also named in the papers – Juan Pedro Damiani – has resigned.
Gianni Infantino has denied wrongdoing while the European soccer’s governing body says it is helping police.
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While working for UEFA, Ganni Infantino co-signed a TV rights deal in 2006 with two businessmen who have since been accused by the FBI of bribery.
Cross Trading – owned by Hugo Jinkis and his son Mariano – bought TV rights for UEFA Champions League football in 2006 for $111,000 and immediately sold them to Ecuadorian broadcaster Teleamazonas for $311,170.
The company also paid $28,000 for the rights to the UEFA Super Cup, selling those to Teleamazonas for $126,200.
The contract came to light after 11 million documents were leaked from Mossack Fonseca.
A statement from Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG) said a “co-operative search” of the Nyon building took place “for the purpose of securing evidence”.
It said its criminal proceedings were connected to the acquisition of television rights and were “directed against persons unknown, meaning that for the time being, no specific individual is being targeted”.
The statement added: “The suspicion is based on the result of findings that have emerged from other proceedings, as well as the corresponding financial analyses carried out by the OAG.
“Current publications in the media subsequently revealed still other elements that made it possible to complement the existing findings in a decisive manner.
“The final impetus was provided, in particular, by confirmation on the part of UEFA that it had concluded contracts with Cross Trading SA.”
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