ZURICH, February 26. /TASS/. Newly-elected President of FIFA Gianni Infantino told a news conference following his election on Friday that all 209 member associations of the global governing body of football would be proud of FIFA and the future developments in the sport.
"I want to tell to all of you, you will be proud of FIFA, proud of what FIFA will do for football," Infantino said at his first news conference in the capacity of the FIFA chief.
UEFA Secretary General Infantino, 45, was elected on Friday the new president of FIFA following the second round of voting, where he received the majority of votes from 207 eligible members associations (football associations of Kuwait and Indonesia are currently under suspension).
Infantino said further that his European background should not be viewed as a guide for his future actions in his new post and the next secretary general of FIFA would be definitely not of European origins.
"I will show to the whole world I am not a candidate of Europe, I am the candidate of football and football is universal," Infantino said. "I want to bring FIFA back to football and football back to FIFA."
Frantisek Laurinec, a member of UEFA’s Executive Committee, told TASS earlier in the day that Infantino would resign from his post of the UEFA secretary general after he was elected the FIFA president.
Laurinec said 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.
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, 45-year-old Infantino served as the UEFA secretary general since 2009 and speaks fluently English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.
A total of five candidates were initially running on Friday for the post of the FIFA presidency: South Africa’s ex-Minister of Housing Construction Tokyo Sexwale, UEFA Secretary General Gianni Infantino, 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, minutes before the election of the new FIFA president Tokyo Sexwale, announced the decision to withdraw his candidacy.
The first round of voting ended with the results: Infantino - 88 votes, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa - 85 votes, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein - 27 votes and Jerome Champagne - 7 votes.
With the necessary 104 votes to win in the second round of the election on Friday, Infantino received 115 votes from FIFA member associations.
Infantino took the helm of the global football organization in the times, when it was hit by numerous corruption scandals involving a number of senior FIFA officials.
A chain of corruption scandals rocked FIFA throughout last year. Everything flared up with an unprecedented scandal on the morning of May 27, 2015, one day before the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, where seven of the organization’s high-ranking officials were arrested in Switzerland on bribery, money laundering and corruption charges.
Currently suspended FIFA President Sepp Blatter, 79, was reelected for his fifth consecutive four-year presidential term on May 29, when his only rival Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan pulled out after the first round of vote.
However, addressing a news conference in Zurich on June 2, Blatter said he decided to lay down his mandate at FIFA extraordinary elective Congress. FIFA announced in July that the election of the new president would be held on February 26, 2016.