Sepp Blatter: “It’s an open secret that Infantino wants to leave Zurich with FIFA.”
Tobias MartiPublisher Sunday View
Whenever the FIFA soccer family communicated with its mother ship, it was from Züriberg, the huge headquarters next to the zoo. In the meantime, however, not even the mail from Zurich seems to arrive. In any case, this is how former FIFA president Sepp Blatter (86), the fallen pope of football, sees it, who is following a World Cup in the living room for the first time, but apparently still has some insides fluttering at home: ” It is interesting that the official documents regarding the FIFA electoral congress were sent to the national associations from Doha, and not from the headquarters in Zurich,” Valaisan said on Sunday.
Unsurprisingly, rumors about FIFA’s desire to control him are persistent. As much as the president Gianni Infantino (52) publicly assures that moving is not a problem (“Fifa stays in Zurich”), Blatter is convinced of the opposite: “It is a fact that Infantino wants to leave Zurich with Fifa in secret.” Blatter, at times the most prominent Swiss, was recently cleared of corruption along with Michel Platini (67).
Blatter on Infantino: “The fact that I live in Qatar is completely wrong”(04:54)
Full move to Paris?
As for the exodus from FIFA, this is more than a rumor as many have already left. 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 moved too, as Sunday’s Blick reported earlier this year. FIFA’s competition department has also left, last autumn it moved to Paris, 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 a full move to Paris, where FIFA was founded. People close to association football have been heard to fear Grande Nation’s rigid wage protection. FIFA employees would then enjoy a de facto permanent position, which may not be in the spirit of a club that has also achieved some notoriety for its rotation and ejection seat positions.
¨Football officials could also settle elsewhere. Informed circles are reporting that FIFA’s sponsorship and marketing division will be outsourced to the US starting next year. New York was in the game for a long time, now the fiscally efficient state of Delaware is preferred. It is said that the employment contracts of FIFA employees have already been changed for the US.
When asked about all this, the communication department says: nothing.
The 2026 World Cup will take place in the United States, among other places. Following the logic of his move to Qatar, soccer king Infantino could present a similar justification for his choice of domicile in the US as he did with Qatar. He has already indicated it publicly.
The man, who is very likely to be re-elected unopposed next year, is said to have had a rocky relationship with his home country.
His irritating speech yesterday, in which he accused the media of hypocrisy, was profound: “I am the son of temporary workers, my parents worked a lot in Switzerland. I had red hair, freckles, I was bullied, kicked out.”
Process against Infantino
Attentive fans should not have missed how much Infantino loved to emphasize his italianità as Uefa General Secretary. The world recognized him as Italian. It was only when he became FIFA president that he suddenly seemed to remember the Swiss language. In this country, the man from Doha has problems with the judiciary and the proceedings against him are still ongoing in Bern. Although one can “forget about the Swiss judiciary in this context, it is part of the problem”, criticizes Mark Pieth, former FIFA reformer chief and Swiss anti-corruption expert, this week in the “Schweizer Illustrierte”.
Corruption hunter Pieth has an anecdote ready for potential relocation wishes. When he sat on the ethics committee ten years ago, he taunted FIFA officials: “If they don’t like Swiss law, they can emigrate to Qatar.” Reality has now caught up with him.