Infantino says FIFA scandals gone, despite corruption cases

Ahead of his re-election as FIFA president, Gianni Infantino says he has banished scandals and corruption from the soccer body despite losing members of his council for misconduct

Infantino faced no opposition for a second presidential term through 2023, which was confirmed by acclamation at the FIFA Congress ahead of the Women's World Cup.

"For those who love me, for those who hate me," Infantino said. "I love everyone today."

The 49-year-old Swiss-Italian was first elected in 2016 in the wake of Sepp Blatter's downfall amid the biggest scandal in FIFA's history.

In the Infantino era, four continental soccer organizations each lost elected FIFA Council members amid allegations of corruption or financial misjudgments.

Infantino was also investigated, and soon cleared, in 2016 by the FIFA ethics committee for his use of private jets. The investigators and judges who ran that case, from Germany, Guam and Switzerland, were gone within a year.

Another independent official left abruptly weeks after finding that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko was too conflicted to retain his FIFA Council seat while also implicated in a state-sponsored doping scandal.

But Infantino told FIFA's 211 member associations that "we have turned the situation around" since the Blatter era.

"This organization went from being toxic, almost criminal to what it should be — an organization that develops football, an organization that cares about football," Infantino said. "We have transformed it into a new FIFA — an organization which is synonymous with credibility, trust, integrity, equality, human rights."

Infantino used his first term to enlarge the men's World Cup from 32 to 48 teams. That will start in 2026 when the United States, Canada and Mexico co-host the event. Plans to fast-track expansion for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar were derailed by the Gulf political crisis and human rights issues.

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