Infantino plays down Asian election postponement

Tue Sep 27, 2016 2:46pm EDT
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By Sudipto Ganguly

PANAJI, India (Reuters) - FIFA president Gianni Infantino played down the significance of Tuesday's postponement of Asian elections for seats on the new FIFA Council, saying it was all part of the reform process at soccer's scandal-hit world governing body.

Upset at FIFA's last minute disqualification of a Qatari candidate, delegates overwhelmingly voted down the agenda of an Asian Football Confederation extraordinary congress in Goa at which three members of the world governing body's new Council were to be elected.

FIFA banned Qatari Saoud Al-Mohannadi from the election on Sunday because of an ongoing ethics investigation, leaving insufficient time for new candidates to join the six remaining in the field.

AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said the voting down of the agenda was "a loud and clear message" to FIFA.

Infantino, who was attending the congress, said the vote was all part of an ongoing reform process within the sport's governing bodies.

"We are going through a reform process in FIFA, the confederations are going through a reform process as well," Infantino told reporters after unveiling the logo for next year's under-17 World Cup in India.

"This takes discussions, this takes time, this takes meetings, postponement of meetings as well. This is simply part of a process soccer is going through these days."

FIFA had set a Sept. 30 deadline for elections to the Council, which replaces the Executive Committee under reforms instituted in the wake of the corruption scandal which has engulfed soccer's governing body over the last 16 months.   Continued...

FIFA President Gianni Infantino attends the World Summit on Ethics and Leadership in Sports at the headquarters of FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich