MOSCOW, February 26 /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Gianni Infantino on his election to the post of president of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA), the Kremlin press service said on Friday.
"Your active and fruitful work at international sport organizations and a significant personal contribution to the development of the football movement have helped you to gain prominence and authority. I am sure that your professional experience and huge creative and organizational potential will help you in your work at the new responsible post and will contribute to strengthening FIFA’s global positions," Putin wrote in his telegram of greeting.
The Russian president also confirmed that the Russian side was ready to continue its constructive cooperation with FIFA, including preparations for the 2018 World Cup.
The world of football needs such man as Gianni Infantino and his election to the post of the president of FIFA can bring nothing else but satisfaction, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS.
"I am satisfied," Mutko, who is also a member of the FIFA Executive Committee and the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), said in an interview with TASS. "We have been supporting him [Infantino] since the very beginning."
"The world of football needs such rational and practical person," Mutko added.
FIFA’s newly elected President Gianni Infantino will resign after the election from his current post of the secretary general of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), Frantisek Laurinec, a member of UEFA’s Executive Committee, told TASS.
Laurinec said in an interview with TASS that following Infantino’s departure UEFA would hold a session of its Executive Committee to appoint the acting secretary general and the European governing body of football would convene its Congress in May to make a final decision on the post of the organization’s secretary general.
Gianni Infantino became the ninth FIFA president in history.
With the necessary 104 votes to win in the second round of the election, Infantino received 115 votes.
FIFA member associations convened in Zurich on Friday for its extraordinary Congress with the main aim of electing the organization’s new president and vote on the landmark reformations to the organization.
Born in Switzerland, the 45-year-old Infantino served as the UEFA secretary general since 2009. He has fluent command of English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.
Infantino’s rivals for the post of the FIFA presidency included South Africa’s ex-Minister of Housing Construction Tokyo Sexwale, FIFA Vice President and Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, former-FIFA Secretary General Jerome Champagne and President of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.
However, Tokyo Sexwale withdrew his candidacy minutes before the election of the new FIFA president.
The next FIFA president will be elected in 2019. Infantino will end Sepp Blatter’s mandate. Blatter was re-elected for another presidential term in May 2015 but stepped down as FIFA’s president a few days later amidst a high-profile corruption scandal.