Gianni Infantino was elected to take over the running of the world’s soccer governing body last Friday, and has made it perfectly clear that he did not share the preference of Sepp Blatter by flying into Bristol from Geneva using EasyJet as opposed to taking a private plane. Infantino then embarked upon a further 44-mile journey by car to reach the Welsh capital of Cardiff where he attended the yearly meeting with IFAB (International Football Association Board) who are soccer’s law making body.
The image of FIFA under Blatter’s supervision was repeatedly tarnished due to the scandals that continued to make headlines during his 17-year reign as president. Infantino has already made it perfectly clear that he will work tirelessly in order to rebuild the image of FIFA and prove that it is a credible and responsible organization. Infantino has started by looking at cost saving measures, he told reporters that first class travel, limousines and nights spending nights in the top hotels were all to be a thing of the past.
Infantino was quick to explain that there may be occasions where he might be forced to travel by a private plane, however this would only be if he needed to travel to three countries in one day, and he was quick to reiterate that everyone in FIFA need to work together to optimize costs and send out the right signals.
Born in 1970 in Switzerland, Infantino needed a blood transfusion and one of the donors whose blood saved his life lived in Bristol. Therefore, what a pleasant coincidence that it was the first place he flew to after winning the election for FIFA president. Gianni explained how he would love to meet the donor as he sees it as something very personal to him, but feels this placement truly was fate and meant to be.
The IFAB meet once a year and it is their responsibility to consider any revisions that are put forward on the laws of the game of soccer. It is expected that trials for video technology will be one of the first things Infantino will approve and this is planned to come into action at the start of the new season as well as endorsing the first rewriting of the game of football’s law book since the 1930s.
Gianni also explained how much he loves the tradition of the IFAB which is now 130 years old and how important it is to keep to this in order to protect the laws of the game. As much as Gianni respects the IFAB he has made it clear that as a society they cannot ignore progress and that they do have to move forwards with the times. It is imperative to him though that all involved in the IFAB must be aware of this and acknowledge that it is 2016, and as so the IFAB has to be open to change.
Change is definitely on Gianni’s agenda, and he intends to start by putting on a united front with all other members of FIFA to prove that simply because he is a president does not mean that he should be treated any differently from any of the other members. He is determined to show total transparency, something that it is clear has been missing from FIFA.