European soccer chief Gianni Infantino was elected president of soccer’s world governing body, FIFA, at a vote Friday in Zurich.
In a second round of voting, Infantino secured 115 votes from the 207 delegates. Sheikh Salman, president of the governing body for soccer in Asia, came second with 88. Prince Ali bin al-Hussein had four votes, and Jerome Champagne picked up no votes at all.
“I want to be the president of all of you,” Infantino said. “I want to work with all of you to work together and build a new era where we can put football at the center of the stage.”
He added: “Fifa has gone through sad times, moments of crisis, but those times are over. We need to implement the reform and implement good governance and transparency. We also need to have respect.
“We’re going to win back this respect through hard work, commitment and we’re going to make sure we can finally focus on this wonderful game.”
In his manifesto, Infantino, who is general secretary of European soccer’s governing body Uefa, advocated an increase in the number of national teams competing in the World Cup from 32 to 40. He also proposed a rise in development and other assistance funds to around $1.2 billion out of FIFA’s $5.5 billion revenues.
In the first round of voting on Friday, Infantino led with 88 votes, while Salman came second with 85, Prince Ali nabbed 27 votes, and Champagne picked up just seven.
The previous FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, stood down last year amid a corruption scandal. He was subsequently banned from involvement in soccer for six years.
Earlier on Friday, FIFA members approved a package of reforms designed to strengthen governance of the sport. This included a separation of commercial and political decision-making, greater scrutiny of senior officials, and commitments to promoting women in soccer and human rights.
“We stand united in our determination to put things right, so that the focus can return to football once again. The hard work of restoring trust and improving how we work begins now,” acting FIFA president Issa Hayatou had said.
“This will create a system of stronger governance and greater diversity that will give football a strong foundation on which to thrive. It will help to restore trust in our organization. And it will deter future wrongdoing.”