Gianni Infantino has been elected as the new FIFA president.
The election went to a second round of voting in Zurich with the UEFA general secretary eventually prevailing by 115 votes. Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al Khalifa of Bahrain, who had been considered the favourite to succeed Sepp Blatter received 88 votes, with Prince Ali of Jordan receiving four votes.
The extraordinary congress was called after Blatter announced his intention to stand down, just days after winning a fifth term in office last May. He was later suspended for six years for a breach of football’s world governing body guidelines.
The new president will serve the remaining term of office for which Blatter was elected, which means the election will take place in 2019.
“Dear friends, I cannot express my feelings in this moment. I told you I went through a journey, an exceptional journey, a journey which made me meet a lot of fantastic people, who love football and breath football and live football every day,” Infantino told the congress.
“We will restore the image of FIFA and the respect of FIFA and everyone in the world will applaud us.
“I want to work with all of you together in order to restore and rebuild a new era of FIFA where we can put again football at the centre of the stage.
“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.”
Shortly before voting commenced, South African Tokyo Sexwale withdrew from the race to leave four candidates.
Although the first round of voting failed to determine an outright winner, Infantino emerged as the leading candidate with 88 votes, three more than Sheikh Salman.
Following Infantino’s election, the man he succeeds released a statement congratulating him on his appointment.
“I congratulate Gianni Infantino sincerely and warmly on his election as the new president,” Blatter said.
“With his experience, expertise, strategic and diplomatic skills he has all the qualities to continue my work and to stabilize Fifa again.”
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