Report: Infantino was under investigation when Ethics Committee's chairmen removed

Sepp Blatter’s spirit of corruption is reportedly alive and well, possessing itself in his successor and FIFA’s president, Gianni Infantino.

According to the Guardian’s David Conn, Infantino was under investigation by FIFA’s Ethics Committee for more than one alleged instance of malpractice in May, when the committee’s two chairmen were omitted from a proposal of the members for its judicial bodies. Cornel Borbely – the Swiss lawyer in charge of the Investigatory Chamber – was apparently examining complaints that claimed Infantino and Fatma Samoura, FIFA’s general secretary, improperly sought to influence the election of the Federation Malagasy de Football’s Ahmad Ahmad as the Confederation of African Football’s president in March.

Per Conn, the allegations include claims from senior figures in African football that Infantino and Samoura promised to accelerate the payment of development money to football associations whose presidents voted for Ahmad. Allegedly, Infantino moved for the ousting of Issa Hayatou – CAF’s president for 29 years – because Hayatou didn’t support him in FIFA’s presidential election in February 2016.

Hans-Joachim Eckert, head of the Ethics Committee’s Adjudicatory Chamber, was also omitted from FIFA’s proposal of the members for its judicial bodies. Borbely and Eckert were reportedly given zero notice that their four-year terms wouldn’t be renewed, and were working on “hundreds of cases” upon finding out. There are questions over how the omissions came to be, but it apparently appears that Infantino asked the presidents of football’s six confederations to recommend appointees, and the proposal was submitted two days later.

Citing sources at UEFA, Conn wrote that European football’s governing body did as requested and suggested new names for FIFA’s Ethics Committee, but that it was done without specific reasons and done without involvement in the decision to omit Borbely and Eckert.

Investigations into Infantino are allegedly said to have stopped, as there is yet to be a professional transition from Borbely to Maria Claudio Rojas, named as the chairwoman of FIFA’s Ethics Committee. The transition is, according to a spokesperson at FIFA, beginning to take place.

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