MANAMA: Gianni Infantino slammed “fake news” surrounding FIFA in an impassioned speech to the annual congress of world football’s governing body in Bahrain on Thursday.
Infantino — elected as president last year on the back of FIFA’s greatest scandal but who has been criticized for his committment to real reform — also claimed corruption could “never again” happen.
“Sadly the truth is not necessarily the truth, but it is what people believe is true,” he told a packed hall of delegates.
“Fake news, alterative facts, these terms did not until some time ago, they have become en vogue.”
He continued: “There’s a lot of fake news and alternative facts about FIFA circulating, FIFA-bashing has become a national sport, especially in some countries.”
But, alternating between English, French, German and Spanish, Infantino said his organisation was now different.
“FIFA has changed now, this is a new FIFA and we are new people here and we act with facts, not with words.
“Nunca mas,” never again, Infantino added in reference to corruption once more rearing its ugly head.
He also told those who wanted to enrich themselves through football to leave the sport.
His speech came after criticism earlier in the week after the FIFA Council recommended that the ethics judge who helped bring down Sepp Blatter, Hans-Joachim Eckert, and chief investigator Cornel Borbely not be re-elected by Congress.
FIFA confirms Guatemala and Kuwait suspensions
FIFA on Thursday confirmed the suspension of both the Guatemala and Kuwait football federations at its annual Congress in Bahrain.
Delegates voted overwhelmingly to retain the suspensions against both federations, which were imposed in Kuwait’s case in 2015 and Guatemala in 2016.
The 211 delegate nations able to vote backed by a 99 percent majority to continue to exclude the Central American nation and 96 percent for the tiny Gulf state.
Guatemala was suspended from international competition after it rejected a FIFA proposal to extend a “normalization committee” imposed because of its involvement in the corruption scandal that has rocked world football’s governing body.
Kuwait was suspended because of government interference.