New president vows to make people proud of FIFA

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Zurich, Feb 27 (IANS) Gianni Infantino, in his first comments after being elected the new FIFA president here, said he will work to restore credibility to world football’s governing body after the scandals that toppled predecessor Sepp Blatter after 18 years in the post.

Infantino, 45, hails from the same region of Switzerland as the 79-year-old Blatter and becomes the ninth to lead FIFA since its founding in 1904, reports Efe.

“I cannot express my feelings in this moment. 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,” he said after winning the election in an unprecedented second round of voting.

“Everyone in the world will applaud us for what we will do. Everyone will be proud of what we will do.”

He comes to the job after serving as general secretary of Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

“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 that is football,” Infantino said, referring to measures approved at Friday’s congress.

One of the reforms adopted in Zurich limits the FIFA president to three four-year terms. Infantino dismissed the possibility that supporters of his defeated rivals will try to obstruct his efforts to overhaul FIFA.

“I don’t agree that football is divided. Today, it was an election but not a war. It was a competition, but not a fight. Now we turn the page. Now we start to work,” he said.

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