Fifa president Gianni Infantino has dismissed suggestions that the scandal-hit world governing body has abandoned a clean-up as “Fifa-bashing” and “fake news”.
Former ethics chiefs Hans-Joachim Eckert and Cornel Borbely this week accused Fifa of torpedoing the reform process, calling the decision to oust them “obviously politically motivated”.
“There are a lot of fake news and alternative facts about Fifa circulating,” said Infantino. “Fifa bashing has become a national sport in some countries. Fifa has changed now.”
In a spiky appearance at Fifa’s congress in Bahrain, he also decried unnamed “self-proclaimed gurus and experts” who had been brought in to help root out wrongdoing but “rubber-stamped a sick and wrong system”.
Infantino, who inherited an organisation shaken by the departure of long-serving president Sepp Blatter amid corruption allegations, added: “We will not accept good governance lessons from any individuals who miserably failed to protect football.”
The Swiss-Italian rubbished the notion that Fifa’s finances had been rocked by a £300m loss last year and waning interest from sponsors.
“Our finances are extremely solid; we don’t need to bulls*** you with false figures,” he said.
World Cup vote
Fifa’s congress approved plans to bring forward a decision on the 2026 World Cup host to June next year.
A joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico is the only declared bid and strongly fancied to succeed, as European and Asian countries are precluded.