FIFA president Gianni Infantino, the sole candidate, was re-elected as the head of the world’s football governing body for the 2019-2023 term of office.
Infantino has been in charge of FIFA since February 2016, after succeeding Sepp Blatter in the wake of a damaging corruption scandal that he now claims the body had now shaken off.
“Nobody talks about crisis at FIFA any more or rebuilding it from scratch. Nobody talks about scandals or corruption, we talk about football. We can say that we’ve turned the situation around,” he said at the Paris Expo, as per AFP.
“This organisation has gone from being toxic, almost criminal, to being what it should be — an organisation that develops football and is now synonymous with transparency, integrity.”
“Today everything is open and transparent. It is not possible at FIFA to make hidden payments of do anything unethical with our money. There is no more place for corruption,” he claimed.
Infantino said FIFA’s previously precarious financial situation was now looking rosy with the organisation’s budget increased from $5 billion to $6.4bn and reserves up from $1bn to $2.75bn.
This was despite increased spending on development projects in FIFA’s 211 member associations.
FIFA spent $1.1bn in the period 2015-18 and will increase the sum to $1.75bn from 2019-2022.
Infantino claimed 11 areas of progress during his tenure, from financial health, women’s development, the fight against racism and a scandal-free 2026 World Cup bidding process.
However, he said the implementation of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system had been his major triumph.
“It’s the biggest success story. It has become an integral part of football inside one year. It doesn’t change the game, but it helps and cleans the game. It brings justice to the game. It’s not perfect but it’s very close to perfection.”