Infantino slams 'fake news' surrounding 'new' FIFA


Gianni Infantino slammed "fake news" and "alternative facts" surrounding FIFA and insisted football's scandal-ridden governing body had changed in an impassioned speech to its annual congress in Bahrain on Thursday.

In echoing that view, former Canada global Karina LeBlanc said: "FIFA invited us to make our views known a year ago and they're backing that up".

"A big thanks goes from my side and FIFA's side to all the authorities who prosecute those who are involved in corruption in football", Infantino said.

Addressing delegates at the organisation's 67th congress in, Manama, the Bahraini capital, Infantino, said criticism of the organisation under his leadership had not been fair, given improved transparency, controls and ethics procedures. Both men had wanted to serve another four year term to complete their work investigating hundreds of cases.

Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, who lost out to Infantino in the election to replace Sepp Blatter a year ago, said the move was a setback for those hoping to see Federation Internationale de Football Association cleaned up.

Giving her view on the session, Alex Scott, who formed part of the England side that finished third at the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™, said: "The opportunity to be listened to and to have our opinions taken into consideration alongside some of the greatest players in history is vital to strengthening the development and the image of the game".

Asked afterwards to give an example of fake news, Infantino responded: "Generally, it's my feeling".

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But later in his at times aggressive presidential address, he couldn't resist launching a scathing attack on those he described as "highly paid experts" who he said had miserably failed to solve FIFA's ills. It's the facts saying it.

"I am not going to judge anyone but what I will say is that the system, the way business is are conducted is the same".

"The main focus has to be on football, and to achieve that we have to listen to the central characters, who are none other than you. A governance committee member was also European", he said. They all miserably failed.

But, alternating between English, French, German and Spanish, Infantino said his organisation was now different.

Referring to Bahrain's promotion of high-profile sports events, including hosting the F1 Grand Prix since 2004 and the new Bahrain Merida professional cycling team now competing in the Giro d'Italia, Al-Khalifa said his government believes in "fair play and tolerance", "inclusion" and the "social change" which sport can promote.

Infantino warned: "If there's anyone in this room or outside of this room who still thinks he can enrich himself, that he can abuse football, I have one clear and strong message - leave football and leave football now. We don't have to bullshit you about the figures".