FIFA presidency: Infantino succeeds Blatter

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    Switzerland’s Gianni Infantino has succeeded countryman Sepp Blatter as FIFA president, following the world football body’s extraordinary congress on Friday in Zurich.

    The UEFA Secretary General polled 115 votes in round two of the contest, 27 more than closest rival Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa of Bahrain who had 88.

    Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, who had contested against Blatter last May, was third with four votes, while Frenchman Jerome Champagne failed to get any.

    South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale withdrew before voting began in the Swiss city which houses FIFA’s headquarters.

    The first round of voting — where two-thirds of the votes were needed — had failed to determine an outright winner, with Infantino securing 88 votes, three more than Salman.

    Prince Ali had 27, while Champagne had seven then.

    A simple majority of more than 50 per cent —- 104 votes — was sufficient for victory in the second round.

    Infantino is a 45-year-old lawyer from Brig in the Valais region of Switzerland, less than six miles from Blatter’s hometown of Visp.

    Blatter, who led the world football governing body since 1998, stood down last June and was later banned from football for six years.

    An emotional Infantino later told delegates that he was finding it hard to “express my feelings in this moment’’.

    But he told delegates that together they would “restore the image of FIFA and the respect of FIFA’’.

    He added: “I want to work with all of you together in order to restore and rebuild a new era of FIFA where we can put again football at the centre of the stage.

    “FIFA has gone through sad times, moments of crisis, but those times are over. We need to implement the reform and implement good governance and transparency. We also need to have respect.

    “We’re going to win back this respect through hard work, commitment and we’re going to make sure we can finally focus on this wonderful game.’’

    Before voting began at the extraordinary congress, reforms were passed to help make FIFA a more transparent and accountable organisation.

    All salaries will be disclosed, while a limit of four years has been placed on a president’s term.

    A new council to replace the current executive committee has also been introduced, featuring a female representative from each confederation.(NAN)

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