UEFA General secretary Gianni Infantino has won the Fifa Presidential elections held on February 26 to replace his countryman- the disgraced Joseph Blatter.
Infantino garnered 115 votes to beat Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman al-Khalifa in the second round of voting, after neither were able to garner the two thirds majority necessary to win in the first round.
This was the first time that scenario has played out since 1974; when Brazil’s João Havelange beat England’s Sir Stanley Rous to the crown.
Infantino got 88 of the 207 votes cast in the first round, well short of the needed 137 votes to win. Sheikh Salman got 85 votes, Jordan’s Prince Ali’s bin al-Hussein got 27, with France’s Joao Champagne’s finishing with 7. South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale withdrew before the elections commenced.
The second round required a simple majority, and Infantino was able to gather the needed votes to get the mandate to replace his compatriot.
In his victory speech, he spoke on the need for reform to move the organisation beyond the chaos that engulfed Blatter’s final year in charge.
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.
45 year old Infantino, who has Italian roots, is from Brig in the Valais region of Switzerland. A lawyer by profession, he has held the role of UEFA General secretary since 2009.