FIFA has added its support to the peace efforts in the Middle East, with President Gianni Infantino attending the signing of a landmark agreement between Bahrain, Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which was conducted at the White House, Washington DC, USA.
Commenting on the historic initiative, Mr Infantino said: “Football has the ability to break down barriers and to bring people together, as it has done time and again over the years. In this way, we hope that football can also play a part in ending rivalries and fostering good will and understanding between people. We want football to continue contributing to positive change across the world, especially during the uncertain times that we are facing on account of the coronavirus pandemic. I am delighted that FIFA can be here to play its part in supporting these positive developments.”
In addition to the signing ceremony in connection with the peace accord, Mr Infantino also attended a meeting the following day at the White House with US President Donald Trump to discuss the establishment of FIFA headquarters in the US for the FIFA World Cup 2026™. They also used the occasion to review the preparations for the tournament, which will be co-hosted by the USA, Canada and Mexico, and to discuss further how football can continue to develop and prosper in the United States by using the FIFA World Cup in 2026 as a catalyst. President Infantino thanked President Trump for his great commitment to the success of the FIFA World Cup 2026 and his engagement in a bright future for soccer in the US.
The FIFA President also paid a courtesy visit to the offices of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and met US Attorney General William Barr, using the opportunity to personally thank the US authorities, and especially the DOJ, for their work in the fight against corruption in football.
Mr Infantino explained to the Attorney General the various governance reforms that have been made at FIFA in the years following the investigations which were initially started by the US authorities and which led to numerous indictments in 2015. He further offered the continued full cooperation of FIFA in the ongoing work of the DOJ regarding criminal activities directly or indirectly related to football which took place before these reforms were introduced.
“Ever since I was elected, we have shown our determination to eradicate malpractice that tarnished FIFA’s reputation in the past, and we have reiterated our willingness to cooperate and assist the authorities in their investigation and prosecution of corruption, which has no place in football,” said Mr Infantino. “I have had similar meetings in Switzerland, and FIFA’s lawyers are also in regular contact with prosecutors and law enforcement agencies wherever and whenever needed.”
“In this way, I am fully convinced that the credibility and reputation of FIFA is being restored at the highest level,” concluded the FIFA President.