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"Nothing has changed": British MP calls for new FIFA head to stand down

Soccer

Fledgling FIFA president Gianni Infantino deserves to be shown a red card on the evidence of his first 100 days in office, campaigners seeking reform of the world soccer body said overnight.

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British parliamentarian Damian Collins, a co-founder of the ‘New FIFA Now’ group, said the Swiss had delivered “smoke and mirrors, but not a great deal of substance” since his election in February.

“We already know that FIFA has failed football over the past decades. On the basis of Gianni Infantino’s first 100 days, we believe he is heading the same way,” he said in a statement issued at a Westminster media briefing.

“Nothing has changed and it never will if (FIFA are) left to their own devices. FIFA is incapable of reforming itself,” he added, repeating calls for an independent FIFA reform commission.

Infantino replaced banned compatriot Sepp Blatter, with FIFA battling to haul itself out of the worst graft scandal in its history.

The Swiss-based body has been embroiled in crisis since last year with 42 people, including former FIFA executive committee members, and entities indicted in the United States.

While Infantino has promised a fresh start, and drawn praise from some quarters, he has not had a smooth ride.

Swiss businessman Domenico Scala quit as head of audit and compliance last month after the FIFA Council was given power to appoint or dismiss members of independent bodies, such as the ethics committee.

Infantino’s proposed pay also made headlines, with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reporting leaked details of FIFA Council meetings that it said showed he had been angered by an offer of 2 million Swiss francs ($2.07 million) a year.

The FIFA president said his salary had not been decided and would be less than 2 million.

New FIFA Now co-founder Bonita Mersiades said the appointment of FIFA’s first female secretary general, Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura of Senegal, was to be commended but questioned the process of appointing someone with no prior experience.

Mersiades also highlighted campaign promises of more money to confederations and a 40-team World Cup which she said were “aimed at keeping the ‘family’ happy”.

“In other words, it’s business as usual. The deckchairs on the Titanic may have different stripes, but they’re still deckchairs on the Titanic.”

-Reuters

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