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03rd Nov 2018

FIFA respond to allegations that Gianni Infantino helped clubs avoid FFP sanctions

FIFA have responded to allegations from Der Spiegel that allege Gianni Infantino to have helped Manchester City and PSG circumvent FFP regulations

Reuben Pinder

“None of the ‘reports’ contains anything which would even remotely amount to a violation of any law, statute or regulation.”

Fifa have responded to allegations that president Gianni Infantino helped Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain circumvent Financial Fair Play regulations.

In a series of reports from German newspaper Der SpiegelInfantino is accused of advising the two oil rich clubs on how to avoid severe punishment for breaking FFP rules.

Manchester City are also alleged to have been fully aware that they were not complying with FFP regulations and were relying on mitigating factors to make it through unscathed.

Der Spiegel reported that Gianni Infantino reassured Man City that they would not be banned from taking part in the Champions League despite the club supposedly failing to comply with FFP.

Manchester City said:  “We will not be providing any comment on out of context materials purported to have been hacked or stolen from City Football Group and Manchester City personnel and associated people.

“The attempt to damage the Club’s reputation is organised and clear.”

PSG, meanwhile, reportedly racked up a deficit of more than €200m over two seasons, but paid just €20m in fines.

Fifa have since issued a statement in response to the allegations, denying any “violation of any law, statute or regulation.”

The statement reads:

“We have become aware of various articles published today about FIFA.

“Four weeks ago, a group of journalists sent several hundred questions to FIFA, based on private and internal e-mails and other information which had been accessed (illegally) by third parties.

“Despite the fact that we answered the questions posed to us in a straight-forward and honest manner, certain media decided to ignore most of our answers and to distort both the facts and the truth in a deliberate attempt to discredit FIFA and to mislead their readers. This is evident.

“It seems obvious from the “reporting” carried out in some media outlets that there is only one particular aim: an attempt to undermine the new leadership of FIFA and, in particular, the President, Gianni Infantino, and the Secretary General, Fatma Samoura.

“It is a fact that many former FIFA officials are currently facing criminal proceedings in Switzerland and abroad. And, of course, many other FIFA officials who were part of, or supported, this discredited regime for many years are also no longer at FIFA. Consequently, it is more than obvious that changes had to be made at all levels, in order to give FIFA a fresh start.”

“It comes as no surprise that some of those who have been removed, replaced, or who are unhappy, continue to spread false rumors and innuendo about the new leadership. We are aware that there are people who, out of frustration, would like to undermine FIFA, for their own self-interested reasons.

“It is, therefore, also a cause for regret that some media outlets occasionally lend support to such false claims, apparently without giving any thought or consideration to the very real and substantive changes that have been made at FIFA, since the old regime was swept away, under a cloud of shame.

“FIFA welcomes honest and thoughtful investigative reporting and fully respects objective journalists. We do not always expect that they will share our views or opinions, however, all we ask for is a fair and truthful account of the work which we are doing, and which we will continue to do, for football.

“Most likely, this will not entail putting a one-side “spin” on things, and attempting to blacken the character of those who are working hard to improve the situation of world football.

“For the avoidance of doubt, it also deserves to be pointed out that NONE of the “reports” contains anything which would even remotely amount to a violation of any law, statute or regulation. This is, beyond question, an immeasurable improvement on the past and something which FIFA is fully committed to going forward.

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, said:

“It is always a challenge to change things, to move forward, and to bring people together in order to do things better. And, as we are resolutely implementing the reforms at FIFA, it was always clear to me that I would face strong opposition, especially from those who cannot anymore shamelessly profit from the system they were part of. But this is why I was elected and for me there will be one focus and one focus only: to improve and develop football, worldwide. And today I am more committed and decided than ever to continue fulfilling this task.”

Fifa’s full statement can be read here.