June 14 – Zvonimir Boban, Gianni Infantino’s personal adviser and a member of the FIFA president’s closely guarded inner circle, has quit after just two years to return to AC Milan as the club’s chief football officer.
FIFA said Boban, deputy secretary general with responsibility for football issues, is leaving within days.
“I will always be grateful to FIFA President Gianni Infantino for the opportunity he gave me,” said Boban who teams up again with club icon Paolo Maldini, the newly appointed Milan technical director with whom he won four Serie A titles and the 1994 Champions League.
“When Paolo called me to check on my availability, I jumped into my car and went to his home in Milan in the middle of the night,” Boban said in a statement.
Milan, for whom the former Croatian star played for 10 years, finished sixth in Serie A this season, extending its failure to qualify for the Champions League to six years. Additionally, UEFA is investigating Milan’s finances and has threatened the club with a one-season ban from European competitions if it fails to meet targets by June 2021.
Boban was never afraid to speak his mind and questions will be asked about the timing of his departure just a week after Infantino’s re-election.
Interestingly, while at FIFA, Boban was head of the Task Force set up to study expansion options for the 2022 World Cup, an idea coveted by Infantino but which ultimately failed to materialise.
Before a final decision was reached last month to stick with 32 teams Boban all but spilled the beans by saying that adding another 16 teams would almost certainly prove too difficult.
And after the ruling, he said: “We had to give it a try … but it was a short time, with a lot of logistical and other complications, so it’s better we dropped it.”
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