Saturday, March 25, 2017

New FIFA president Infantino uncomfortable with Blatter comparisons

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 28 Feb 2016

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New FIFA president Gianni Infantino is keen to put a stop to comparisons between himself and predecessor Sepp Blatter.

Infantino was elected in Zurich on Friday and replaces Blatter, whose hometown lies just six miles from that of his Swiss compatriot.

Blatter saw his reign come to an end amid allegations of corruption at world football’s governing body and is now serving a reduced six-year ban from the sport over a payment of two million Swiss francs (£1.3million) made to UEFA boss Michel Platini in 2011 that infringed upon FIFA’s Code of Ethics.

And Infantino is keen to shift the spotlight away from the common ground he shares with Blatter, telling SonntagsBlick: “Infantino is Infantino, Blatter is Blatter.”

Infantino, who served as UEFA general secretary under Platini, has – like Blatter – mastered a number of languages.

“It is good, but there are many who speak many languages. Especially in Switzerland, where we are practically raised bilingually.

“Sepp Blatter marked an era in FIFA. I hope that I will characterise a new era in FIFA.

“I’m my own man. Otherwise I would not have won such a vote. But I am still on good terms with Platini.”

Discussing life since the result, Infantino commented: “I have practically not slept, only a few minutes maybe. Everything is somewhere between a dream and reality. I have probably not yet fully realised what has happened.

“We celebrated with the family a little, drank a glass of red wine. I am very emotional but full of energy and drive.

“[I was] not confident of victory. I was very calm, surprisingly quiet. Normally I stress more.

“I had the feeling I had done everything possible in the election campaign and I wanted to enjoy the day.

“The emotions overwhelmed me almost. My wife hugged me – it was an incredible moment.

“Also, my 81-year-old mother was able to witness it all. It is a gift and it touched me deeply.”

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