10 Things You Need to Know About New FIFA President, Gianni Infantino

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By Nicholas Ibekwe Gianni Infantino is 34 years younger than his predecessor, Sepp Blatter, who is 79. But while both men share nothing in common in terms of age they are natives of the Valais region in the Swiss Alps. Mr Infantino is from Brig which is barely six miles from Visp, Blatter’s home town. 2. He defeated the favourite in the election, Sheikh Salman of Bahrain, by 27 votes in the second ballot to emerge President. Mr Infantino scored 115 of the 207 eligible votes while Mr. Salman got 88 votes. 3. Mr Infantino is a polyglot who speaks at least six international languages – English Italian, French, Portuguese, Spanish and German. He was also not shy to show off his language skills during Friday’s election. According to the ESPN, he spoke five different languages in the first 75 seconds of his speech. 4. He holds Swiss, Italian and Greek nationalities. 5. He was the Secretary General of the European football governing body, UEFA. 6. He was not the favourite to be elected president. In fact, he was believed t have originally acted as replacement candidate for Michel Platini, the UEFA president, who is facing corruption charges. But he started gaining momentum as it became increasingly clear that Mr Platini was not going to clear his name. Mr Platini is currently serving a 6-year ban from all football activities, alongside Mr Blatter. 7. He is a trained lawyer and graduated from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. 8. Mr Infantino joined UEFA in August 2000, working on a range of legal, commercial and professional football matters, and was appointed Director of UEFA’s Legal Affairs and Club Licensing Division in January 2004. 9. His first tenure as FIFA president will end in 2009 and can only hold the office for a maximum of 12 years according to the new reforms reached by FIFA delegates on Friday. His predecessor, Mr Blatter, was in office for 18 years and would have been serving a fresh term were it not for his corruption indictment. 10. He is 45, and a regular face in UEFA Champions League draws.

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