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Infantino claims positive response to FIFA funds plan

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has received encouragement from national federations over his proposals for wealthier nations to give up their annual payments from world football’s governing body.

As part of the manifesto for the presidential election he won in February, Infantino promised FIFA would donate $5million to each of its 209 members over a four-year period.

Speaking at UEFA’s annual Congress in Budapest, former UEFA general secretary Infantino suggested an annual $1.25m windfall is an insignificant amount for some of the wealthier European federations and told reporters his suggestion that the money could be better used elsewhere have been welcomed.

“Each association is equal in FIFA and each association and has the right to receive $5m – if it will be approved, of course – over four years, so it will be $1.25m per year. Each association has the same rights,” Infantino said.

“If there is an association, or two or three or five or 10 around the world, who maybe think that they don’t need it and they can do something for football encouragement outside the country I would encourage them to do so.

“Hopefully we can foresee something specific in this respect in the regulations.  

“A few have come to me to say maybe we don’t really need that [donation] and so on, but it’s up to them to say it and not up to me. I won’t say which ones.”

Infantino also claimed he has received apologies from members of the media over reports last month linking him to the ‘Panama Papers’ leak last month.

Widely released reports claimed that documents within the leak from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca – which related to the offshore financial arrangements of wealthy individuals and organisations – indicated that Infantino signed off on a deal to sell South American broadcasting rights for the Champions League UEFA Cup and Super Cup to a company called Cross Trading in 2006, during his time as UEFA’s director of legal services.

Two Argentinian businessmen apparently named in the papers as having been behind the Cross Trading deal have since been accused by US prosecutors of involvement in the corruption scandal that engulfed world football and eventually led to the departure of Infantino’s predecessor at FIFA, Sepp Blatter.

UEFA subsequently co-operated with a raid on its Nyon headquarters, which the Swiss Office of the Attorney General said was “motivated by the suspicion of criminal mismanagement and… misappropriation” in relation to ongoing criminal proceedings regarding “the acquisition or television rights… at present directed  against persons unknown”.

“There is nothing more to say,” Infantino said. “Everything is clear, everything is transparent, everything was done properly to the rules.

“It was a non-story from the beginning. Some had the decency to apologise to me of those who reported wrongly and that’s it.

“[The apologies came from] people who were saying things quickly without checking what it was. It [the rights tender] was a proper process.”

Tue 3 May, 2016
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