Wed | Nov 14, 2018

We have come a long way - Infantino

Published:Friday | January 19, 2018 | 12:00 AMAndrÈ Lowe/Sports Editor

FIFA President Gianni Infantino is hoping that exchanges such as yesterday's FIFA Executive Summit, which took place at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James, will foster greater synergy and underlined what he described as the body's new ethos of inclusion and transparency.

Infantino met with a small group of local journalists shortly after the all-day seminar, which saw representatives from more than 100 Member Associations spanning the European, African and CONCACAF confederations, debate the way forward for the organisation and discuss matters such as the development of youth and women football, the global transfer system and the international calendar, as well as the US$1.4 billion FORWARD programme, which is geared at encouraging the development of the game across the globe.

With FIFA still laying fresh blocks of trust following a wide-ranging corruption scandal, which deeply involved high-ranking CONCACAF officials, Infantino noted his satisfaction and confidence that the current practises represent a departure from what pertained before, while pointing to the importance of Jamaican football on the global stage.

"I am pleased with where we (FIFA) are. Objectively if we compare what we are doing now and what we did in the past - and I think the same goes for CONCACAF, then certainly there is no comparison ... in the past FIFA had some line items in it's accounts - 'Other costs - $100 million' and nobody knew what those 'other costs' were and now every costs have to be outlined," said Infantino, who also outlined several other reforms, which took place since he took office.

The Swiss, who was elected to the top post in 2016, lauded local organisers of the Summit and underscored his reason for selecting Jamaica as host.

"(I chose Jamaica) because I have never been in Jamaica myself and I wanted to have an occasion to come," Infantino said before bursting into laughter.




"Jamaica is a football country and it is an important country for CONCACAF. It's an important country for FIFA, it's an important country for this whole region - it's a hub and there is a new president in place, a new administration and we wanted to come here to show everyone what can be done in Jamaica. We count as well on Jamaica and Jamaican football to be an example ...," said Infantino, who went on to underline the value of the seminar.

"It's important to go to our members and share our views. These summits, like the one here today in Montego Bay are extremely important because they mark a real change of FIFA compared to the past. Now we want to be open and transparent as part of this new governance model. We want to talk to all of our members," he shared.