Gianni Infantino, the Swiss head of the Zurich-based world football governing body FIFA, has been cleared of any breach of ethics by an independent committee. He was facing accusations regarding expenses and acceptance of free flights.
An internal FIFA memo leaked by an insider to the German media in May alleged that Infantino had accepted private flights in April from World Cup organisers Russia and Qatar. It also claimed that he had filed unreasonable expense claims for an exercise machine, as well as for a driver and a car.
On Friday, the investigatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee announced that it was concluding its investigations against Infantino.
“It was found that no violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE) had been committed by Mr. Infantino,” said the statement.
The investigation, which lasted several weeks, looked into potential breaches of FIFA’s code of conduct pertaining to “general rules of conduct”, “loyalty”, “conflicts of interest” and “offering and accepting gifts”. Besides the flights and expenses, the investigation also looked at Infantino’s refusal to sign his CHF2 million ($2 million) work contract as well as hiring of staff in the president’s office.
“In particular, no relevant situations involving conflicts of interest related to Mr. Infantino’s position as FIFA President were identified, and the benefits enjoyed by Mr. Infantino were not considered improper in the light of applicable FIFA rules and regulations,” said the ethics committee statement.
It also added that the issues with Infantino’s work contract were more to do with “internal compliance” that an “ethics matter”.
In a separate statement, Infantino declared that he was “pleased” with the outcome of the investigation and that the “critical work” of cleaning up FIFA and restoring its reputation will continue.