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Infantino paid less than his No. 2 in new-look FIFA

By AP - Feb 28,2016 - Last updated at Feb 28,2016

ZURICH — After 17 years under the all-powerful Sepp Blatter, a sign of the FIFA president’s newly diminished powers will come when Gianni Infantino’s salary is revealed.

The head of world football will no longer be the best-paid person in the governing body under reforms instigated to curb the president’s powers after corruption scandals that threatened FIFA’s existence.

Instead, Infantino’s No. 2 — a chief executive in an overhauled FIFA structure — will now receive a bigger pay packet than the president, a person with knowledge of the situation said on Saturday.

A three-man remuneration committee decided that neither Infantino nor his CEO should earn more than Blatter, who was reported to have earned around $6 million — a figure not denied by FIFA and which is likely to have fluctuated based on bonuses.

Infantino, the outgoing UEFA general secretary, plans to appoint a non-European CEO. As powers are separated across the executive, the Swiss-Italian will have no influence over commercial contracts so will not receive bonuses, the person said.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because FIFA salaries are not currently allowed to be discussed publicly. Blatter’s final day on the FIFA payroll was on Friday. Having joined in 1975 and spent 17 years as president until being found guilty in December of unethical financial conduct by the organisation’s ethics judge.

The presidency will return to the non-executive figurehead status long established before Blatter won election in 1998 and steadily asserted more control over FIFA. Under Joao Havelange, Blatter was in day-to-day control as secretary general.

Infantino, almost 35 years Blatter’s junior at 45, is seen as a cleaner new face of FIFA as it tries to protect its victim status in American criminal investigations into football bribery and racketeering.

Amid the reformist buzzwords drilled into the 209 football nations in several scripted speeches delivered by acting president Issa Hayatou at Friday’s congress, the message that FIFA must become a “strong and responsible organisation” was the loudest. The sign at the entrance featured the phrase “restoring trust”.

As a member of the reform committee established after the first wave of arrests of FIFA executives last May, Infantino has been at the heart of shaping the governing body’s new appearance.

Canadian Football Association President Victor Montagliani, who crafted the reforms alongside Infantino, believes Infantino will still be able to influence the management of FIFA as it tries to regain its credibility.

“This whole thing about power and the presidential office, that’s ancient,” Montagliani told the AP. “I think leadership is not about power, it’s about service. We are all servants of the game ... and I think there’s a generational change in the game.”

Reform committee chairman Francois Carrard, a former International Olympic Committee director general, acclaimed Infantino as the “most complete candidate” while cautioning that a new era should not be hastily declared.


“He’s a man of action, he’s a doer, not just a talker,” Carrard said. “If there was another president ... he would have to go through a learning curve he doesn’t need. He is an insider of the reforms.”

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