Swiss football administrator Gianni Infantino wins FIFA presidential election
The 45-year-old defeated his closest rival Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa by 28 votes in the second round.
New Delhi: Swiss football administrator Gianni Infantino has been elected as the new president of International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) on Friday.
The 45-year-old defeated his closest rival Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa by 28 votes in the second round of voting after no winner emerged in the initial round at the FIFA Extraordinary Congress in Zurich. He is the ninth FIFA president.
The UEFA general secretary beat Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan and the former FIFA deputy general secretary Jerome Champagne in the four way fight after the withdrawal of South African Tokyo Sexwale.
Sheikh Salman had been the favourite to succeed disgraced Sepp Blatter because of support from the large Asia and Africa camps, but Infantino pulled of the surprise win. He polled 115 votes in the second round, while Sheikh Salman got 88. Prince Ali managed only four, while Champagne failed to open the account.
Blatter, who led world football's governing body since 1998, stood down last year and was later banned from football for six years. Interestingly, both Infantino and Blatter hailed from the same Valais region in the Swiss Alps.
Voting went to a second round after none of the candidates received the required two-thirds majority in the first round. Infantino, in fact, led the first round with 88 of the 207 votes cast, ahead of Sheikh Salman’s 85 votes, Prince Ali’s 27 and Champagne’s seven.
Moments before the voting began, Sexwale withdrew his candidature.
It is the first time voting for the presidential election had reached a second round since 1974, when Brazilian Joao Havelange became the first non-European president to lead the world soccer body.
A candidate needed to secure two-thirds of the available votes, which equated to 138, in the firs round to win the election. In round two, a simple majority is required.