Gianni Infantino Elected Ninth President of FIFA

Gianni Infantino FIFA

by DENY GALLAGHER

UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino has been elected the ninth President of FIFA following a vote Friday afternoon in Zurich, Switzerland.

“I cannot express my feelings in this moment,” Infantino declared in his victory speech. “I went through an exceptional journey, met many fantastic people who love football, who breathe football. I want to work with all of you to work together and build a new era where we can put football at the center of the stage.”

Infantino, who many considered a long shot prior to Friday, becomes the most powerful man in world football after receiving 115 out of the possible 207 votes in the second ballot of the election.

The runner up, Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, came up just short in the second ballot — despite being just three votes shy of Infantino after the first vote. Neither candidate received two-thirds of the vote after the first ballot to force a second vote for the first time since 1974.

Sheikh Salman was considered by many to be the frontrunner heading into Friday’s election, but a late push by the UEFA General Secretary helped the Swiss/Italian jump out to a surprising 88 to 85 lead after Friday morning’s first returns.

It is important to note that the United States Soccer Federation played a significant role in the 2016 FIFA Presidential Election. After a disappointing first round in which the USSF’s endorsed candidate Prince Ali of Jordan only received a mere 27 votes, U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati was one of the more active members on the floor between the first and second ballot. With Infantino only needing to secure 16 more votes to become the next President of FIFA, Gulati and the UEFA General Secretary were in close proximity to each other over the 111-minute second ballot. When the day’s second returns came back, Infantino had gained 27 votes to win the election.

In addition to electing a new president, the members of FIFA also voted on reform throughout the organization. Delegates from each of the 207 countries passed a motion to enforce a three term presidential limit, and replace the executive committee with a 36-member council. The council will feature a female representative from each confederation.

While FIFA is far from restoring their reputation, Friday was a good start in bringing football back to the center of the game’s governing body.

  • Rebel Fighter

    Why did Garber vote on behalf of the US Soccer Federation? Shouldn’t it have been Gulati putting that envelope in the box? Just saying.