Gianni Infantino Becomes President of FIFA

 

Gianni Infantino has been elected the new president of FIFA, the world football association. He is the successor of Joseph Blatter, who led FIFA from 1998 to 2016.

Infantino, secretary of Europe's football governing body UEFA, beat his opponent Sheik Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa in a close race. There were five candidates, but only Infantino and Sheikh Salman were given any real chance of winning.

The vote became necessary when former FIFA president Blatter had to step down after  he had been suspended by FIFA's ethics commission for allowing corruption to spread across the world's most important football organisation. Blatter won his fifth term last year, but shortly afterwards was banned from all football activities for six years. Europe's number one official  Michel Platini had to withdraw his candidacy after he, too, had been  suspended because of corruption charges.

In his opening speech the new FIFA president stated that he wanted to reorganise the world's largest sports organisation and bring respect and trust to football again. He said that the world had to focus on the sport, not on the people who work in the background.

Gianni Infantino has offered to give national federations more money. In the last four years FIFA has made about $6 billion through selling TV rights and sponsors. Infantino also wants  to raise the number of nations allowed to compete in the World Cup to 40.

 

The election of the Swiss lawyer and professional sports administrator is somewhat surprising, as he was not the favourite before the vote. His opponent, Sheikh Salman of Bahrain, has been widely criticised  because of his support of cracking down on dissidents and protesters in Bahrain.

 

Gianni Infantino

Gianni Infantino - President of FIFA - Image: Piotr Drabik

 

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Words

  • administrator = official; person who controls an organisation
  • association = organisation
  • ban = forbid
  • billion = a thousand million
  • candidate = person who wants to be elected to a certain position
  • candidacy = being a candidate
  • charge = to accuse someone of committing a crime
  • close = only by a small difference
  • compete = here: take part
  • corruption = bad or illegal behaviour by people, especially those who are in a high position
  • crack down = here: to start dealing with protesters by using violence
  • criticise = to disagree with someone about what they think or do
  • dissident = person who disagrees with their government and says so in public
  • elect = to vote for a person to be in a certain position
  • ethics = about what is morally right and wrong
  • former = the last; up to now
  • governing body = organisation that legally controls something
  • lawyer = person who gives legal advice to someone and who defends them in court
  • national federation = here: the organisation that controls and oversees football in every country of the world
  • necessary = needed
  • offer = promise
  • official = person who is in a high position in an organisation
  • opening speech = first speech as president
  • opponent = the person who you want to win against
  • raise = increase, move up
  • somewhat = a bit
  • spread = move from one place to another
  • step down = resign, give up your position
  • successor = person who comes after someone else
  • suspend = not allowed to do something any more
  • term = here: time during which someone is president
  • TV rights = to allow a television station to broadcast an event
  • widely = very much; by many people
  • withdraw = pull back