FIFA, the world football association, has backed its president Gianni Infantino despite the criminal proceedings.
“The FIFA President will continue to fully perform his functions within FIFA, fulfill his duties as President and continue to work with the authorities in Switzerland and around the world,” said FIFA on Sunday: “FIFA and the FIFA President categorically reject any accusation that the FIFA President has ever attempted to exert any undue influence on the Federal Prosecutor. “
The Swiss federal prosecutor’s office opened criminal proceedings against Infantino on Thursday. In Switzerland, the 50-year-old is involved in a judicial affair involving outgoing federal attorney Michael Lauber. Lauber submitted his resignation for the end of January 2021. However, due to outstanding vacation entitlements, he will vacate his post at the end of August.
Should Infantino be put under pressure?
Basel criminal professor Mark Pieth, for whom FIFA chaired the independent governance commission from 2011 to 2013, believes that Infantino has little to fear from the association. In an interview with Pieth, Pieth judged the Colombian Maria Claudia Rojas, chief investigator of the formally independent ethics committee Deutschlandfunk: “The woman doesn’t understand anything at all.”
However, Pieth can very well imagine that Rojas will be asked to act by officials from her home country. In South America, an alliance has been in the making for a long time that is (no longer) satisfied with Infantino’s work – the Rojas, which is said to be closely linked to its officials, would be the perfect instrument to put Infantino under pressure.
In general, Pieth does not believe that otherwise functionaries would become active. “Sports officials are not brave people,” said Pieth: “If you don’t have to, let the Infantino live.”