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October 2020
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Infantino looks sunk; but if he takes down Fifa as well, what replaces it?

by Tony Attwood

A couple of weeks ago Gianni Infantino head of Fifa, a man on trial for corruption in Switzerland, met (not for the first time) with US President Donald Trump.

this was when Infantino attended the signing of the agreement between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in the White House on September 15.

The net day Infantino had an appointment with US Attorney General William Barr.  This is interesting because it is the USA investigative authorities that were very much involved in the investigation of corruption by current and former Fifa officials – until one of their lead prosecutors disappeared only to turn up later, working for Fifa.  (See Amazing unbelievable development in the Fifa battle; sadly not on UK news).

Indeed since 2015, there have been multiple hearings and convictions in the United States by the US authorities.  But Infantino, perhaps taking a leaf out of Donald Trump’s approach to logic, reason and truth, announced that, “Since I was elected president, Fifa has shown it is resolute in tackling the abuse that has damaged its reputation in the past.”   Which is of course true – although it might be helpful to add that the person at the centre of the allegations is… Infantino, and his resolution has involved a gigantic cover up.

He continued by saying, “We are willing to work with the authorities and support them in investigating and prosecuting corruption because it has no place in football.”   He didn’t mention that he himself is accused of incitement to abuse of office. Commenting on his meeting with the US Attorney General, Infantino said: “In addition to similar meetings on my part in Switzerland, Fifa’s lawyers are in regular contact with prosecutors and law enforcement agencies whenever and wherever necessary.”

In this case “necessary” seems to mean because it is Infantino who is on trial.

Last week, the Swiss parliament appointed judge Stefan Keller as extraordinary federal prosecutor for the criminal investigations against Infantino, his private legal advisor Rinaldo Arnold and the ex-chief prosecutor of Switzerland (allegedly corrupted by Infantino), Michael Lauber.

Fifa, it has now emerged, has been trying to sabotage Stefan Keller’s appointment, and there has been a huge media campaign raised against Keller.   This campaign didn’t reach England of course, where the universal policy is to pretend that the whole affair is not happening, there is no legal case, and everything in Fifa is wonderful, and the FA is right to spend tax payers’ money supporting Fifa.

The anti-Keller policy failed and he was then confirmed in his appointment although not before some confidential internal reports of the judicial commission had been leaked to the press.

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But the fact the Fifa has been running a scurrilous campaign of personal attacks on the prosecutor in their case shows how desperate and dirty this is getting.  They called him a “part-time judge,” noted he was from a rural agricultural part of the country, and allegedly put letters to Infantino in military envelopes and stamped them with German stamps and postmarks!!!  (They probably also accused him of eating an unpatriotic breakfast cereal).

Even with the wild and wacky media in England we don’t get those sorts of accusations against judges – and maybe it is good after all that the media in England are totally ignoring the impeding collapse of Fifa – otherwise they might start getting some ideas on how to report legal cases themselves.

This whole process has got so bizarre that advisers to Infantino have been trying to undermine and replace the judge suggesting that such a complex case needs someone with more experience to oversee it.  It has also been noted that as a special investigator Keller has been given a substantial budget, and might not be able to spend it properly.

So here we have Fifa, itself accused of corrupting the Swiss legal system, accusing the Swiss legal system of employing a prosecutor who might not know how to spend his budget properly!  It surely can’t get any wilder than this.

The response came in a statement from the prosecution saying, “If Mr. Keller were as bad a public prosecutor as the defence is trying to suggest, surely the defence would have to be happy about it, since the defence could fight the prosecution on each point of procedure and win.”

Parliament agreed and the special investigator was not only given a strong vote of approval but also an increased budget for the next two years.

In Switzerland the feeling is that the prospects for Infantino are now very bleak indeed, with him now accused of inciting abuse of office, as well as improper behaviour in relation to a whole range of internal Fifa matters.

Infantino said, however, most recently at the Fifa Congress, that there is no basis for the investigation into his affairs and that private meetings between the head of the Swiss legal system and the head of Fifa, without notes being taken and without anyone else being present, are normal.  In short he said, there is a conspiracy against him.

The big problem for Infantino is not that he sounds like a conspiracy theorist launching wild accusations at every turn, the simple fact (already admitted on all sides) is that the secret meetings with the now disgraced ex-chief prosecutor Michael Lauber were not officially arranged through Fifa, but rather discreetly arranged by Infantino’s friend Arnold.

What’s more Lauber did not take minutes of any of the meetings, and everyone involved claimed to have forgotten one particular and very long meeting in 2017 in Bern.    This was at the same time that  Lauber was investigating a TV contract signed by Infantino himself (while he was at Uefa) – a contract signed with people since also accused of corruption in terms of broadcast rights.

At that time, Infantino even wrote in an email to Arnold saying that he wanted to explain his view of the delicate matter to the investigators at an upcoming meeting with Lauber.

Increasingly the feeling is that the men accused here have existed in a world of supreme arrogance in which Fifa is able to do what it wants, when it wants, how it wants.

Gradually step by step the entire edifice is being undermined.  It’s collapse now seems inevitable.

 

 

5 comments to Infantino looks sunk; but if he takes down Fifa as well, what replaces it?

  • Nitram

    Tony

    As I don’t buy the papers, listen to talk sport, SKY Sports or BT Sport the chances of me hearing anything would be slim, but if you Google FIFA/Infantino a few articles do appear, the most recent being from SKY Sports on the 18th of September this year.

    The problem is, as is SKY Sports Modus operandi they simply reproduce verbatim everything Infantino says. No investigation, no difficult questions even considered, let alone asked. In other words SKYs take on it is simply to allow Infantino to tell us how great and honest he is and how FIFA is now all cleaned up. Basically SKY Sports are just a mouthpiece for FIFA, that is NOT even balanced reporting let alone investigative journalism.

    This, as you know, is exactly the same way they handle the PGMOL. Anyway bellow is a link to their article. The headline hints at where it’s going:

    FIFA: THE MONEY DOESN’T DISAPEAR ANYMORE, SAYS PRESIDENT GIANNI INFANTINO

    https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11095/12075176/fifa-the-money-doesnt-disappear-anymore-says-president-gianni-infantino

  • This is unrelated. It is a piece from the Daily Mirror which seems to be strangely devoid of factual content. It talks about the Suarez bid (Arsenal’s poor negotiating skills) and the Firmino release clause (which is probably illegal). There is no mention of dishonesty in the article, and I find that quite disturbing.

    fiction

  • Menace

    Through News Corp and Rupert Murdoch, Fox has an umbilical connection to Sky. The corrupt in FIFA are also linked to these groups and to some disturbing Mid East tyrants by similar umbilical connection.

    Sadly this also impacts Arsenal as our owner is ‘friendly’ with Fox.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    We don’t need anything to replace FIFA. The various confederations or nations could easily send representatives and figure something out. FIFA doesn’t pay wages, it holds spectacles and makes money with someone else’s employees all in the guise of misplaced nationalism.

  • omgarsenal

    Tony………I admire your optimism and desperately hope and wish it comes to pass but here are my reasons for believing that FIFA, the corrupt structure it englobes and even Infantino will walk away from this free of severe consequences:

    1) FIFA is a very,very powerful organisation that has corrupted so many and has so much dirt on all of them that they won’t be allowed to fail by the vested interests ( Mafia,corrupt national Associations, private gambling interests, heads of various leagues and competitions, etc.).

    2) The Swiss will do everything they can to inculpate Infantino and his corrupt infrastructure but they will be handicapped severly by the internal Swiss forces that seek to cover up this entire cesspool.

    3) The EU cannot interfere in the legal prosecution even if they wanted to since they must let the process run on to its ultimate conclusion before they can become involved, so no rescue there, just yet.

    4) There is a culture of denial,coverup and misinformation leading to misdirection and dishonesty at FIFA,EUFA and many national Associations that, combined with the skeletons in their closets, forces them to attempt to put out the fire in Switzerland by pissing on whatever seems a threat to their hegemony.

    5) The COVID-19 pandemic will likely take centre stage again as the Trumpkin and his spouse have tested positive for the virus just this week. That throws the entire election process into a right mess only 4.5 weeks from their election day. This offers a perfect red herring, espec ially to the UK press and media as they can do their usual smokescreen BS without ever having to aknowledge what is rotten in FIFAland.

    Overall it is highly unlikely that anything of consequence will transpire from these investigations but I pray and hope that I am proven wrong!

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