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Carrard delighted by reform vote and Infantino election

Francois Carrard is confident newly elected president Gianni Infantino is the right man to lead a reformed FIFA.

UEFA general secretary Infantino, a late entry into the race after Michel Platini’s suspension and subsequent ban from football activities left the European federation without a candidate, claimed a surprise edge over favourite Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa in the first round of voting at Friday’s Extraordinary Congress in Zurich.

The 45-year-old Swiss drove home his advantage by securing the backing of 115 member federations to triumph in the second round.

Earlier, Congress voted through a reform agenda – including laws to limit presidential terms and introduce transparency measures – with 89 per cent approval.

Former IOC chief Carrard chaired the taskforce responsible for crafting the renewal package and he was delighted by both of Friday’s outcomes.

“I think it’s a very good basis for the future,” he said. “I’m happy for two reasons.

“First of all because the reforms have been accepted with 89 per cent and I think it’s a very good score. No, I wasn’t hoping for unanimity because the reforms can always be improved. And I think the work has to be continued.

“The second big satisfaction that I personally feel is the election of Gianni Infantino, who has always been a very important, very competent and very active member of the reform committee. Since the beginning of this committee, he has been very good, he was perfect.”

Former German Football Association (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach believes Infantino’s election could be remembered as a pivotal moment for FIFA.

Niersbach found himself embroiled in one of the scandals to rock world football during a turbulent recent period, when he resigned over the bribery allegations related to his country’s hosting of the 2006 World Cup.

The 65-year-old denies any wrongdoing and he hopes FIFA can now move on from other ills associated with the era of outgoing president Sepp Blatter.

“This is a good day, maybe even a historic day,” he said. “But only the future will show [if that is true].

“What happened is the end of the era Blatter, not forgetting the personal tragedy that is connected to that.

“That the reform package was accepted meant we showed the world that we are ready to change. And now having a new president, the man I thought was the best candidate because I know him very well, I know what he is capable of. He is ready for the job.

“I think we will remember February 26 as the day we turned the corner.”

Sat 27 Feb, 2016
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