By Paul Nicholson
June 9 – FIFA seems to have become the gift that keeps on giving, not just to journalists in terms of stories, but especially to its new president Gianni Infantino, according to new information published today regarding his expense claims.
Much has already been written about Infantino being insulted at the $2 million salary offer made to him by former Audt and Compliance chief Domenico Scala, and of course Infantino’s love of private jets – in particular one recently that ferried the Infantino family from the Champions League final to the Vatican to meet the Pope .
Now new detail has been published by German newspaper Frankfurther Allegmaine Zeitung (FAZ) showing that Infantino has potentially abused his expenses to make a number of private purchases.
As part of his package at FIFA Infantino is provided with a leased car costing $ 2,170 per month. In addition, he also has the right to a chauffeur driven car from FIFA’s fleet. However, documents show he has also hired a second chauffeur driven car that has so far run up 211.5 hours, costing FIFA about SFr19,600.
FAZ says that in documents it has seen, the cost is questioned as during the time this cost was racked up Infantino was mainly traveling abroad.
The documents also talk of expense payments for various private purchases including a fitness machine for CHF 8883, mattresses for a furnished FIFA apartment for CHF 11 440, a tuxedo (CHF 1415), flowers (CHF 860 francs) and six pairs of football boots (CHF 1256.70).
Infantino, as FIFA President, does have a budgeted expense allowance of CHF 2,000 per month, though he would be expected to cover personal expenses himself.
Infantino was elected president of FIFA on a platform of reform with the sure-fire vote winning promise of handing out more of FIFA’s cash to its member associations. At his first conference as president he then proceeded to dismantle the independence of the Ethics chambers – effectively putting himself in a controlling position – and began a process of bringing in his own cronies into key positions within the organisation.
The real question now seems to be not if Infantino will be referred to his own ethics committee but when. And then, obviously, whether it will be brushed under the carpet or whether he will be suspended while an ‘independent’ investigation is conducted. FIFA has suspended people for considerably weaker allegations of impropriety in the past.
The floodgates of damning information about how Infantino is conducting his rule at FIFA do not seem to have been shut – and it has been a pretty remarkable series of revelations and manoeuvres to date.
If Infantino was hoping that the start of the Euro 2016 Championships might provide a focus on football and away from FIFA House for a few weeks, then he probably shouldn’t hold his breathe but perhaps expense a full sub aqua kit. This flood only seems to be rising.
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