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Infantino begins FIFA reign with star-studded tournament

FIFA president Gianni Infantino played in a seven-a-side tournament alongside a host of football greats in Zurich on Monday to mark his first day in office.

Infantino was elected on Friday to replace Sepp Blatter, whose long reign ended in disgrace with the 79-year-old serving a six-year ban from all football-related activity amid a corruption scandal at the governing body.

But successor and Swiss compatriot Infantino held a seven-a-side tournament on his first day in the job in a bid to help the organisation become synonymous with football rather than off-field matters.

Former England and AC Milan boss Fabio Capello was present as coach, while Infantino captained a side that included Luis Figo, Michel Salgado and Paolo Maldini.

Among the three other teams were star names such as Carles Puyol, Robert Pires, Clarence Seedorf, Deco and Andriy Shevchenko.

“Football is back at FIFA, and FIFA is back in football,” said Infantino. “As of today, I’d like that when we speak about FIFA, we speak about football. That’s why I arranged these games today.”

World Cup-winning former Spain captain Puyol added: “It is a symbolic act. If we talk about the football governing body, then it’s very positive to have the players playing an active role in it.”

Mon 29 Feb, 2016
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