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Fifa’s Infantino cleared of ethics violations

Fifa's ethics committee on Friday cleared president Gianni Infantino of ethics violations after investigating him over his use of private jets, personal expenses, hiring methods and a contract dispute.

Fifa's Infantino cleared of ethics violations
Gianni Infantino was cleared by Fifa's ethics committee. Photo: Philip Ojisua/AFP
“After conducting both preliminary and formal investigation proceedings, the investigatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has decided to conclude its investigations concerning Fifa President Gianni Infantino. It was found that no violation of the Fifa Code of Ethics had been committed,” a statement said.
   
Infantino was “pleased” with the finding, a Fifa statement said, which also thanked “all those who cooperated with the Ethics Committee to ensure that the facts were heard and the truth prevailed”.
   
The statement from Fifa investigators marked the first confirmation that a probe had been opened targeting Infantino, who replaced Sepp Blatter in
February vowing to crack down on widespread corruption in Fifa.
   
The ethics committee, which serves as Fifa's in house court, said it found “prima facie” evidence of wrongdoing, but that the formal inquiry proved Infantino's innocence.
   
Questions surrounding Infantino's conduct emerged within months of him taking charge as the most powerful man in world football.
   
An Fifa internal memo, which leaked last month but was dated May 23rd, listed concerns about Infantino's lifestyle, as well as possible conflicts of interest, such as the use of private jets, which it said were paid for by Russia and Qatar and estimated at between $115,000 and $150,000 (134,000 euros).
   
The memo further noted 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.
   
Fifa insiders have also voiced concern about Infantino's refusal to sign his employment contract amid disputes about compensation.
   
There has been further unease about the process that led to the hiring of Fifa's new general secretary, Fatma Samoura of Senegal, with some suggesting that proper vetting procedures were not followed.
   
Lead investigator Vanessa Allard cleared Infantino on any misconduct in connection with the flights and expenses.
   
She also said that any concerns regarding his contract or hiring methods “constituted internal compliance issues rather than an ethical matter.”

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FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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