Norway’s Klaveness talks of FIFA’s ‘realm of fear’ as she lobbies for UEFA exco position

By Samindra Kunti in Kigali, Rwanda

March 14 – Norway FA president Lise Klaveness has spoken of a “realm of fear” among football FA presidents as Gianni Infantino heads for re-election and another four-year term as FIFA president in the Rwandan capital.

Klaveness (pictured) spoke of a culture where one decision is leveraged against another, but also pointed, from her federation’s point of view, to a distinct loss of trust over how Infantino leads the world federation. She accused Infantino of a lack of seriousness over reforms, of intervening in national FAs, of forcing through decisions without consultation, and finally of cozying up all too much to politicians.

While Klaveness’ assessment will strike a chord with many, it won’t prevent Infantino from storming to re-election on Thursday, the fruit of distributing development money from the FIFA Forward 2.0 programme as well as a consequence of the eye-watering and growing cash reserves FIFA possesses. Infantino’s election almost boils down to a single question: will it be by acclamation or not?

The Norwegian FA president however is seeking to carve out her own position in the game.

On the sidelines of official activities in the build-up to the FIFA Congress Klaveness met with the German FA president Bernd Neuendorf, discussing among others her bid for a seat on the UEFA executive committee.

In the race for a regular seat on the committee, Klaveness is campaigning, having met the FA presidents of Romania and Belgium among others. She called the meeting with Belgian FA president Paul Van den Bulck ‘inspiring’. The English FA has endorsed Klaveness through a letter, she said.

Jesper Moller from Denmark is also up for (re-)election, which could lead to a split in the votes for the Nordic candidates. The UEFA executive elections will take place during the confederation’s congress in April in Lisbon.

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