Infantino’s lifestyle slammed in FIFA memo

The governance of new Fifa president Gianni Infantino and his lifestyle have drawn criticism in an internal memo of world football’s governing body, published online by the Swiss weekly SonntagsZeitung.

Infantino's lifestyle slammed in FIFA memo
The 11-page memo, dated May 23 last, concerns the first two months of Infantino’s presidency. Photo: AFP

The 11-page memo, dated May 23 last, concerns the first two months of Infantino’s presidency and its unnamed author sent the document to Sindisiwe Mabaso-Koyana, acting chairperson of Fifa’s audit and compliance committee.

“It is my duty to report potential cases of breaches of regulations,” the author wrote, claiming Infantino had not respected the four-month delay before the Mexico Congress in May to appoint people close to him to the various Fifa committees.

“This undermines all efforts taken up to date, to strengthen Fifa’s governance,” the memo stated.

It also questioned Infantino’s lifestyle, as well as possible conflicts of interest, such as the use of private jets, which it says were paid for by Russia and Qatar and estimated at between $115,000 and $150,000 (€134,000).

The memo further notes that Fifa has made two company cars and a driver available to Infantino. The second car which is used primarily by Infantino’s family cost $20,140 in March and $13,800 in April.

Infantino took the helm of the scandal-plagued body in February vowing to lead world football into a new era of “transparency” and “honesty”.

His predecessor Sepp Blatter is already serving a six-year suspension from football over a two million Swiss franc ($2 million, €1.8 million) payment to former Fifa vice president Michel Platini.

A Fifa spokesman told AFP that there was “nothing new” in the memo. “A restructuring process is ongoing,” she said, adding it is “normal that some people are not happy”.

Regarding costs, the spokesman said the expenses “comply with Fifa rules”.


Trial over 2006 German World Cup corruption opens in Switzerland

Three former German football officials and ex-FIFA Secretary General Urs Linsi went on trial on Monday in Switzerland over suspicions that Germany bought votes to obtain the 2006 World Cup.

Trial over 2006 German World Cup corruption opens in Switzerland

The three defendants have indicated that they will not be present at the hearing in Bellinzona for a variety of reasons, including fear of travelling because of coronavirus contagion.

Swiss Linsi, 70, former German Football Association (DFB) presidents Wolfgang Niersbach, 69, and Theo Zwanziger, 74, and 78-year-old former DFB General Secretary Horst R. Schmidt are being prosecuted for “fraud”.

They are accused by the Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office (BA) of concealing from the DFB the true destination of a transfer of 6.7 million euros ($7.6 million today), paid in 2005 by the organising committee to former Adidas boss, the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus, via FIFA.

The case of former World Cup organising committee chairman Franz Beckenbauer is being heard separately because of the former Germany captain's poor health.

The investigation was prompted by a report in German publication Der Spiegel in 2015 that Germany had used a secret fund of 10 million Swiss francs (6.7 million euros at the time) to buy votes and obtain the rights to host the competition at the expense of South Africa.

Beckenbauer is suspected of having asked Louis-Dreyfus, to contribute to this fund shortly before the vote on the host in the summer of 2000.

Louis-Dreyfus was allegedly reimbursed by the German Football Association on the pretext of expenses related to a FIFA gala evening, which ever took place.

Zwanziger, Niersbach and Schmidt have also been charged with tax fraud in Germany and the case is expected to come to trial in the coming months. cpb/pb/td