FIFA President Gianni Infantino during the 2017 Confederations Cup group A football match between Portugal and Mexico at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 18, 2017. Roman Kruchinin / AFP
Football’s world governing body FIFA assured Tuesday that “no investigation” had been opened into president Gianni Infantino after sources said his role in the Confederation of African Football’s presidential elections was being looked into.
Maria Claudia Rojas, the new president of the investigatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee, “has confirmed that all files have been handed over to her and that there are no open preliminary or investigation proceedings involving the FIFA President”, the organisation said in a statement.
“It is in FIFA’s interest that the work of the ethics committee is not disrupted by conjecture of any kind,” the statement added.
“Therefore, FIFA will refrain from commenting any further on baseless speculation and will instead concentrate on providing concrete information.”
Sources told AFP on Monday that Swiss prosecutor Cornel Borbely, who was chairman of the ethics committee’s investigatory chamber before being removed last month, had opened an investigation into suggestions Infantino might have sought to influence the election of Madagascar’s Ahmad Ahmad as president of CAF in March.
The investigation stemmed from evidence provided by African representatives, a source close to FIFA said.
Several African witnesses had been set to travel to FIFA headquarters in the Swiss city of Zurich but at least one of them had their summons cancelled after Borbely was removed from his post, the same source said.
British newspaper The Guardian reported on Sunday that Infantino was being investigated for claims he had promised, along with FIFA general secretary Fatma Samoura, to accelerate payments of development money to national football associations if the presidents voted for Ahmad.
FIFA announced their decision to remove Borbely and Germany’s Hans-Joachim Eckert from their posts in the ethics team during the organisation’s congress in Bahrain last month.
Borbely said the decision was “a setback in the fight against corruption” as there were “several hundred cases” of corruption pending.