Infantino is clean
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has been cleared of breaching the governing body’s Code of Ethics after formal proceedings were opened against him by the Investigatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee, it was announced today.
Infantino, elected as head of the world governing body in February of this year, had been under scrutiny for a series of questionable expense claims, including private jets from Russia to Qatar, host nations of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively.
Among the other allegations published in June by German publication Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung were claims that Infantino made a number of other purchases at FIFA’s expense, including a fitness stepper machine, mattresses, a tuxedo, flowers and football boots.
The Investigatory Chamber opened preliminary proceedings concerning whether the Swiss breached several ethics regulations, including conflict of interest, loyalty, offering and accepting gifts and general rules of conduct.
Infantino was also in the firing line for not signing an employment contract with the organisation after he had been unable to agree his salary, one of the factors in the dramatic resignation of Audit and Compliance Committee chair, Domenico Scala.
Following the initial investigation, it was then decided the Ethics Committee should proceed with formal proceedings, with the probe led by Investigatory Chamber member Vanessa Allard.
Allard found that “the occurrences related to the flights taken by Mr Infantino did not represent” violations of the Code of Ethics.
“In particular, no relevant situations involving conflicts of interest related to Mr Infantino’s position as FIFA President were identified, and the benefits enjoyed by Mr Infantino were not considered improper in the light of applicable FIFA rules and regulations,” a FIFA statement read.
Allard claimed any issues relating to Infantino’s contract were more “internal compliance issues rather than an ethical matter”.
“As such, the final report prepared by Ms Allard concluded that no ethical breaches had been committed by Mr Infantino,” the statement added.
A statement accredited to Infantino after he was cleared of all potential breaches read: “FIFA President Gianni Infantino is pleased that, following a thorough review, the investigatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has determined that “no violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE) has been committed.
“With this matter now resolved, the President and the FIFA administration will continue to focus on developing football as well as their efforts to improve the organisation.
“Tangible progress has been made in key areas such as ensuring that those who have acted against the interests of football are identified and held to account, improving FIFA’s governance and repairing its reputation, and restoring trust with its stakeholders.
“This critical work will continue.” (Reuters)