FIFA president Gianni Infantino believes Leicester City’s Premier League title triumph is a fairytale that will be celebrated by football fans worldwide.
Claudio Ranieri’s team were crowned as champions on Monday night when nearest rivals Tottenham failed to secure the victory they needed at Chelsea to take the race into the final two weekends of the season.
Leicester, who were 5,000-1 outsiders for English football’s top prize at the start of the season, will now rub shoulders with European football’s elite in the Champions League next term and former UEFA general secretary Infantino believes they are thoroughly deserving of their status.
“It’s a fairytale. It’s one of these beautiful football stories that only football can write and no one would have believed possible at the beginning of the season or throughout the season,” Infantino told reporters at the UEFA Congress in Budapest.
“Not only does it make the Leicester fans very happy and very proud but all football fans because this is the magic of football.
“So big, big, big congratulations to the club, to Ranieri, to the players and they have their place in the Champions League on sporting merit.”
Infantino was an architect of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations, which means clubs competing in European competitions must spend within their means or face sanctions from the European governing body.
Manchester City fell foul of FFP and was hit with spending restrictions for the 2014-15 season but Infantino does not believe the regulations have had any impact on Leicester’s march to glory.
“What Financial Fair Play did and does is try to bring more rationality by avoiding clubs over spending compared to their possibility and their means,” he explained.
“I think the budget of Leicester is much, much lower than the majority of the other clubs in the Premier League and Europe.
“But still, when you’re a good team, when the chemistry is there and it works it is good.
“Financial Fair Play helps to bring a bit of rationality away from the football pitch but on the pitch it is the players who make the difference.”
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