Sepp Blatter: “It is an open secret that Infantino wants to leave Zurich with FIFA.”
Tobias MartiAn editor’s view of Sunday
Whenever the Fifa soccer family communicated with their mothership, it was from Züriberg, a massive mansion next to the zoo. In the meantime, however, the contribution from Zurich will probably not arrive either. In any case, that’s how former FIFA president Sepp Blatter (86), the fallen football pope, watches the World Cup in his living room for the first time, but apparently still has some guts fluttering in his house: “It’s interesting that the official documents in connection with the electoral congress The FIFAs were sent to the national associations from Doha – and not from the head office in Zurich,” Valaisan said on Sunday.
Unsurprisingly, rumors of Fifa’s desire to take it over are persistent. No matter how often President Gianni Infantino (52) publicly assures that the move is not a problem (“Fifa remains in Zurich”), Blatter is convinced of the opposite: “It is a fact that Infantino wants to leave Zurich with FIFA as an open secret.” Blatter, at times the most prominent Swiss, was recently cleared of corruption along with Michel Platini (67).
Blatter on Infantino: “The fact that he lives in Qatar is absolutely wrong”(04:54)
A complete move to Paris?
As for the exodus from Fifa, it is more than a rumor as many are already gone. First of all, the president himself. Infantino has quietly moved the center of his life to Qatar. And it’s not just him, his family has also moved, as the Sunday Blick published at the beginning of the year. FIFA’s competition department also left, moving to Paris last autumn, to the Hôtel de la Marine, a magnificent palace. “By the way, in a building that belongs to the emir of Qatar,” as Blatter readily explains.
However, there are strong arguments against moving entirely to Paris, where Fifa was founded. People close to the Football Association were heard to be worried about the Grande Nation’s rigid wage protection. Fifa staff would then look forward to a de facto permanent position, which does not have to be in line with the spirit of the club, which has also become famous for its turnover and relegation positions.
¨Football officials could also settle elsewhere. Well informed circles are reporting that Fifa’s sponsorship and marketing division is to be outsourced to the US as early as next year. New York was long in the game, now the tax-advantaged state of Delaware is preferred. It is said that the employment contracts of Fifa employees have already been changed for the USA.
When you ask about all this, the communications department says: nothing.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be held in the USA, among other places. According to the logic of his move to Qatar, soccer king Infantino could come up with a similar rationale for choosing an American domicile as with Qatar. He has already hinted at it publicly.
The man, who is highly likely to be re-elected unopposed next year, is said to have had a complicated relationship with his native country.
His inflammatory speech yesterday, in which he accused the media of hypocrisy, was profound: “I am the son of guest workers, my parents worked hard in Switzerland. I had red hair, freckles, I was bullied, ostracized.”
Proceedings against Infantino
Observant fans could not have missed how much Infantino liked to emphasize his Italianità as UEFA General Secretary. The world knew him as Italian. Only when he became FIFA president did he suddenly seem to remember the Swiss idiom. In this country, the man from Doha is in trouble with the judiciary and is still on trial in Bern. Although one can “forget the Swiss judiciary in this context – it is part of the problem”, criticizes Mark Pieth, former chief reformer of FIFA and Swiss anti-corruption expert, in “Schweizer Illustrierte” this week.
Corruption Hunter Pieth has an anecdote ready about a possible relocation. When he sat on the ethics committee ten years ago, he mocked FIFA officials: “If you don’t like Swiss law, you can emigrate to Qatar.” Reality caught up with him now.