Fifa President Gianni Infantino is under increasing pressure in the Swiss judicial affair and is now being targeted by the investigators. The Swiss public prosecutor’s office opened criminal proceedings against the head of the world football association on Thursday and could plunge FIFA into the greatest crisis since its predecessor, Joseph Blatter. This immediately called for internal investigations and consequences.
“The case is clear. Now the FIFA Ethics Committee must also initiate and suspend proceedings against Gianni Infantino, ”said Blatter of the German Press Agency. The proceedings involve secret meetings between Infantino and the head of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, Michael Lauber, as the supervisory authority announced via the BA on Thursday in Bern. The allegations against Infantino are instigating abuse of office, instigating breach of official secrecy and instigating favoritism.
The FC Bayern Munich CEO Karlheinz Rummenigge, on the other hand, continues to support Infantino. “I think it is important that we get some peace of mind in FIFA at some point,” Rummenigge told Bavarian Radio. “I hope that he gets things settled because: Actually, he would be the man to get Fifa into calm waters.”
Infantino denies allegations
A prosecutor, who is also present at the meetings, is also charged. Infantino rejects the allegations. “Let me clarify once again: The meetings with the Federal Prosecutor should contribute to the complete clarification,” said the Swiss, according to a FIFA statement in the afternoon. “At the time, over twenty cases against former FIFA members were pending. I have complied with this essential obligation to provide information, also in terms of FIFA, and will continue to do so. This has always been my aspiration and I won’t let that put me off. ”Fifa and Infantino have announced that they will cooperate“ extensively ”with the authorities.
Nevertheless, Infantino, who has always presented himself as a innovator and reformer since taking office in February 2016, could also temporarily face adversity in his office as FIFA President. When the Swiss BA opened criminal proceedings against the then world leader Blatter in 2015, among other things on suspicion of unfaithful business management, the FIFA Ethics Committee blocked it for 90 days. The process continues.
Now, just over a year after his re-election as FIFA president, Infantino is in need of more explanations than ever. The secret meetings took place in 2016 and 2017, while the federal prosecutor’s office was investigating Fifa for corruption. The investigation involves, among other things, the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and 2022 to Qatar. There are “signs of criminal behavior,” said the BA.
Criminal proceedings are also to be opened against Lauber. However, he is still in office until the end of January 2021 and is therefore protected against prosecution. The specially appointed public prosecutor therefore asked the parliament to waive his immunity. Lauber has since resigned at the end of January 2021 after the regulatory authorities had already reprimanded him for the meetings and accused him of a violation of his official duties and untrue statements. He also rejected the allegations.