Gianni Infantino: Fifa president cleared in ethics probe

Infantino was elected on 26 February
Infantino was elected on 26 February

Fifa president Gianni Infantino has been cleared of wrongdoing following an investigation into his expenses, recruitment and alleged sacking of whistleblowers.

Infantino took charge of football's world governing body in February after the disgraced Sepp Blatter resigned.

Fifa's ethics committee found no "conflicts of interest" and no breaches of the organisation's ethics code.

"The benefits enjoyed by Mr Infantino were not considered improper," it said.

Infantino said he was pleased with the decision, adding he "would like to thank all those who co-operated with the ethics committee to ensure that the facts were heard and the truth prevailed".

BBC Sport learned last month that Infantino, 46, was under scrutiny from the investigatory chamber of Fifa's ethics committee.

At the time, the Swiss lawyer was said to be "very confident" no further action would be taken, with sources close to the former Uefa secretary general describing the allegations as "absurd" and "baseless".

"Mr Infantino's conduct with regard to his contract with Fifa, if at all, constituted internal compliance issues rather than an ethical matter," the ethics committee added.

What were the allegations?

A leaked internal Fifa memo outlined a series of claims relating to Infantino. The claims were that he:

  • Left himself exposed to claims of a possible conflict of interest by using private jets laid on by a World Cup bidding country
  • Filled senior posts without checking people's eligibility for the role
  • Billed Fifa for mattresses, flowers, a tuxedo, an exercise machine and personal laundry
  • Demanded Fifa hire an external driver, who then billed the governing body for driving Infantino's family and advisors around while he was abroad

Analysis

BBC Sport news correspondent Richard Conway

Supporters of Gianni Infantino spoke throughout this investigation of his confidence over being cleared. He has no case to answer but the Swiss Italian has been damaged by the process.

Questions concerning his judgement have been raised.

Taking private flights to Moscow and Doha was judged to be within the rules - but is it wise for a man elected on a platform of renewing trust and faith in Fifa to accept such offers?

Doubts over his political nous were raised again this week after he was pictured laughing and joking while visiting Marco Polo del Nero, the head of the Brazilian football confederation and a man who has been indicted by US authorities over corruption claims.

Infantino hasn't signed his employment contract yet either - another matter which continues to weigh him down, given reports he rejected an initial salary offer for being too low.

Despite all this he can be expected to capitalise on being cleared by the ethics committee and relaunch his stuttering presidency. The question for many will be has lasting damage already been done?

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