FIFA president Infantino hits back over conspiracy claims

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has rejected claims he plotted to remove the former chairman of the independent audit and compliance committee, and said he aimed to publish details of his salary.

"I will communicate (the salary contract) transparently as soon I have signed it. You will see it will be less than 2 million (Swiss) francs (dollars)," he was quoted as saying in interviews with Swiss media published Sunday.

Infantino, who on Sunday was 100 days in office, said his "opponents want to portray me as avaricious; that is absurd."

His comments follow a report by Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) that Infantino told the new FIFA Council he rejected a salary proposal of 2 million Swiss francs as "insulting."

Infantino also rejected allegations he ordered audio files of the council meeting to be deleted. An "illegal copy" had been discovered but "the original is in good hands and is available to the authorities concerned," he said.

FAZ had quoted from leaked tapes and documents in a report that alleged the new FIFA president and top officials plotted the removal of Domenico Scala, the former independent audit and compliance chairman.

Scala resigned on May 14 in protest at a FIFA congress decision he said "undermines" reforms at football's scandal-hit governing body.

The congress voted to allow the FIFA Council the right to appoint and dismiss members of key control bodies including the governance and compliance committees.

But Infantino denied all suggestions of a conspiracy against Scala, saying the decision was a temporary measure to allow FIFA to replace people under investigation without having to wait for the next congress meeting.

"Neither the FIFA president nor the board members want to influence the independent committees," he said.

Infantino said he did not fear a possible investigations against him by FIFA's ethics committee.

"I am totally calm and as strong as the mountains in my home of (the Swiss canton) Valais," he said.

However Infantino did direct criticism at Scala, saying the former audit and compliance committee chairman "believed he was omnipotent".

Whether Scala knew how the system worked under former FIFA president Joseph Blatter is something he had long asked himself.

"Perhaps part of the answer is in the notations in the contracts which he authorized," he said.

According to an internal investigation by FIFA, Blatter, former secretary general Jerome Valcke and former financial officer Markus Kattner enriched themselves by more than 79 million Swiss francs in the last five years.

Infantino also appeared to take aim at Scala when he said some people had wanted to reduce the FIFA president's role to that of a "puppet."

He said: "As FIFA president, I am the captain of the team - including all rights and obligations. I am the man in charge and would also be the guarantor of the proper functioning and the good image of FIFA."

Last update: Sun, 05/06/2016 - 15:16

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