Gianni Infantino has been elected as the new Fifa president, succeeding Sepp Blatter.
The Swiss-Italian edged ahead of favourite Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa in the first ballot but failed to secure the two-thirds of the vote required to secure victory.
Infantino, who replaces outgoing Blatter, picked up 115 votes in the second round, eleven more than the 104 he required, to secure the presidency in Zurich. Sheikh Salman, meanwhile, received the backing of 88 nations while Prince Ali al-Hussein was supported by just four.
“I cannot express my feelings in this moment,” he told the Fifa extraordinary congress immediately after being elected. “I told you I went through an exceptional journey, which made me meet many fantastic people, who live and breathe football, and many people deserve to see Fifa is highly respected. Everyone in the world will applaud us for what we will do. Everyone will be proud of what we will do.”
Infantino will be in office until 2019 after a raft of new reforms were passed this morning.
Chiefly among the accepted reforms package is the decision to set fixed terms of three or four years for presidents while the benchmark has been set for full disclosure of the payment structure at Fifa. The executive committee will also undergo a transformation of sorts with it expected to now be replaced by a 36-member council designed to set global policies and include at least one female representative.
Infantino’s election followed an afternoon of drama which paid witness to rank outsider Tokyo Sexwale pulling out of proceedings in the final stages of his speech to congress.
The South African businessman, a prominent anti-apartheid campaign who servied prison time alongside Nelson Mandela, told members: “My campaign ends today and I suspend my participation. I leave only four people.”
Independent News Service