Football

Infantino.

Gianni Infantino elected new Fifa president

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Football’s crisis-hit world governing body Fifa have elected Gianni Infantino to take over from Sepp Blatter as their new leader.

The Swiss gained 115 votes to win the election which took place in Zurich today (Friday).

Delegates from all of Fifa’s 209 national participated in the “extraordinary congress” and they all voted in alphabetical order of their confederations.

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Infantino, a 45-year-old lawyer from Brig, will be tasked with the job to taking the damaged organisation into a new era after the mess left behind by Blatter.

Blatter has been banned from football for six years after a “disloyal payment” of £1.3 million was made to suspended Uefa president Michel Platini.

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He had led the world’s football governing body since 1998, but stood down last year amid controversial surrounding his time in charge.

Infantino expressed his delight at being voted the new president.

"I accept the result of this election, thank you,” he said.

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"I went through an exceptional journey, met many fantastic people who love football, who breathe football.

"I want to be the president of all of you, of all 209 nations.

"I want to work with all of you to work together and build a new era where we can put football at the centre of the stage."

There were only really two candidates in the running with Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa coming in second with 88 votes.

Prince Ali bin al-Husein came third with just four votes with Jerome Champagne didn’t pick up any.

Tokyo Sexwale had previously withdrawn from the presidential race.

One thing that Infantino wants to implement in football is changing the format of the World Cup. He believes that the competition should be expanded from 32 to 40 teams.

However, immediately after he was voted as president, the European Club Association quickly reiterated that they are very much opposed to the idea.

"Everyone, the clubs, as well as the national and international associations, bears responsibility for the players," explains Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, ECA Chairman.

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"We have reached a point where we cannot further burden the players, but need to relieve them. FIFA must fulfil this responsibility for the health of the players.”

Former England striker Gary Lineker has made one of Blatter’s biggest critics and congratulated Infantino following the appointment.

He also joked that he feared Infantino was actually just Blatter in disguise.

Even before the vote took place, reforms were passed to help Fifa become more credible.

It declared that all salaries will be disclosed and a limit of four years will be placed on any president’s term.

It also announced that a new council will be implemented to replace the executive committee and it would feature a female from each confederation.

Chairman of the FA Greg Dyke, who casted the vote for England in Zurich, said that the reforms are “more important” than the appointment of a new leader and hopes it will provide “an opportunity for Fifa to start again."

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