FIFA claim explosive Football Leaks data breach are an attempt to ‘undermine’ and ‘discredit’ President Gianni Infantino
- FIFA feel media outlets are deliveratley trying to ‘undermine’ Gianni Infantino
- An explosive Football Leaks data breach impacted the FIFA President on Friday
- It said Infantino sided with Manchester City and PSG over Financial Fair Play
- Manchester City ‘hid’ £30m from UEFA FFP investigators as leaked documents claim FIFA president Gianni Infantino sided with them and PSG
- REVEALED: Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City ‘among 11 founder teams in secret talks to launch European Super League’
FIFA have accused the media of trying to ‘undermine’ President Gianni Infantino and erode the credibility of world football’s governing body in a damning statement released on their website.
On Friday, new information emerged on the Football Leaks platform that suggested FIFA president Infantino – then Uefa general secretary – ‘went out of his way to ensure that Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain avoided harsh punishment’ for Financial Fair Play violations.
But late on Friday evening, FIFA responded to what they felt was a ‘deliberate attempt to discredit FIFA and to mislead their readers.’
FIFA say the Football Leaks data breach is a ‘deliberate attempt’ to undermine Gianni Infantino
‘Despite the fact that we answered the questions posed to us in a straight-forward and honest manner, certain media decided to ignore most of our answers and to distort both the facts and the truth in a deliberate attempt to discredit FIFA and to mislead their readers,’ the statement read.
‘This is evident. It seems obvious from the ‘reporting’ carried out in some media outlets that there is only one particular aim: an attempt to undermine the new leadership of FIFA and, in particular, the President, Gianni Infantino, and the Secretary General, Fatma Samoura.’
Infantino was said to have sided with Manchester City and PSG to lighten FFP punishments
WHAT DID THE LATEST DOCUMENTS CLAIM?
- Man City and PSG systematically violated FIFA’s financial fair play rules for years
- Infantino, as UEFA general secretary, buckled under pressure from Abu Dhabi and Qatar and allowed the clubs from to operate without fear of punishment
- UEFA gave only mild punishments to the two clubs and did not expel either of them from the Champions League as it did with smaller clubs
- Infantino – despite an obligation to strict neutrality – secretly met for negotiations with club bosses from both clubs
- He cleared the way for ‘settlements,’ although he was not authorized to do so
The 666-word statement is a damning indictment of the reporting that was done on Friday as they pointed to the changes that have taken place since the new FIFA leadership assumed office.
‘As is widely known, FIFA was in a desperate situation in 2015, as it sought to recover from decades of neglect and mismanagement,’ it continued.
The statement referenced that many former officials faced criminal proceedings in Switzerland and abroad, while many others who had discredited the organisation for many years were no longer involved.
‘It comes as no surprise that some of those who have been removed, replaced, or who are unhappy, continue to spread false rumors and innuendo about the new leadership. We are aware that there are people who, out of frustration, would like to undermine FIFA, for their own self-interested reasons,’ the statement reads.
The documents, revealed by German publication Der Spiegel, showed that City, along with French giants Paris Saint-Germain, were found in breach of FFP regulations for 2011-12 and 2012-13 when they posted combined losses of more than £150m – far beyond what UEFA’s then-new rules permitted.
As a result, in 2014 they reluctantly accepted a fine of £49m, which was later cut by two thirds following subsequent compliance.
Manchester City feel the latest documents are an ‘attempt to damage the club’s reputation’
A Manchester City statement, in response to the data leak, said: ‘We will not be providing any comment on out of context materials purportedly hacked or stolen from City Football Group and Manchester City personnel and associated people.
‘The attempt to damage the Club’s reputation is organised and clear.’
PSG published a lengthy statement on their website, in which they said: ‘Paris Saint-Germain has always acted in absolute compliance with the laws and regulations issued by sports institutions.
‘The club has always complied strictly with the laws and regulations in force and strongly denies the allegations published today.’
Another area of real interest to the football community from the leaked documents was the talk of a European Super League.
Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal were all named in the documents which claim they are among 16 clubs who would leave their domestic competitions to play in the new league as early as 2021.
Such a move would leave the future of the leading domestic leagues and major competitions such as the Champions League in question.
Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Paris St Germain and AC Milan are the other clubs listed, with five further clubs allegedly to be invited as ‘initial guests’.
Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool are in secret talks to enter an ambitious European Super League, according to latest documents
FIFA STATEMENT IN FULL
We have become aware of various articles published today about FIFA.
Four weeks ago, a group of journalists sent several hundred questions to FIFA, based on private and internal e-mails and other information which had been accessed (illegally) by third parties.
Despite the fact that we answered the questions posed to us in a straight-forward and honest manner, certain media decided to ignore most of our answers and to distort both the facts and the truth in a deliberate attempt to discredit FIFA and to mislead their readers. This is evident.
It seems obvious from the ‘reporting’ carried out in some media outlets that there is only one particular aim : an attempt to undermine the new leadership of FIFA and, in particular, the President, Gianni Infantino, and the Secretary General, Fatma Samoura.
Since the new leadership of FIFA took office there have been changes. There had to be and we are very proud of them. As is widely known, FIFA was in a desperate situation in 2015, as it sought to recover from decades of neglect and mismanagement.
It is a fact that many former FIFA officials are currently facing criminal proceedings in Switzerland and abroad. And, of course, many other FIFA officials who were part of, or supported, this discredited regime for many years are also no longer at FIFA. Consequently, it is more than obvious that changes had to be made at all levels, in order to give FIFA a fresh start.
It comes as no surprise that some of those who have been removed, replaced, or who are unhappy, continue to spread false rumors and innuendo about the new leadership. We are aware that there are people who, out of frustration, would like to undermine FIFA, for their own self-interested reasons.
It is, therefore, also a cause for regret that some media outlets occasionally lend support to such false claims, apparently without giving any thought or consideration to the very real and substantive changes that have been made at FIFA, since the old regime was swept away, under a cloud of shame.
FIFA welcomes honest and thoughtful investigative reporting and fully respects objective journalists. We do not always expect that they will share our views or opinions, however, all we ask for is a fair and truthful account of the work which we are doing, and which we will continue to do, for football.
We will happily engage with all media who would like to gain a clearer understanding of our work, of the changes which we have made, and who would like to contribute to the success of the organisation going forward.
Most likely, this will not entail putting a one-side ‘spin’ on things, and attempting to blacken the character of those who are working hard to improve the situation of world football.
For the avoidance of doubt, it also deserves to be pointed out that NONE of the ‘reports’ contains anything which would even remotely amount to a violation of any law, statute or regulation. This is, beyond question, an immeasurable improvement on the past and something which FIFA is fully committed to going forward.
We will not be distracted from our work as FIFA is unarguably in a far better position than it was two years ago. We welcome any constructive debate. And we will continue to move forward, stronger and more committed than ever.
FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, said:
‘It is always a challenge to change things, to move forward, and to bring people together in order to do things better. And, as we are resolutely implementing the reforms at FIFA, it was always clear to me that I would face strong opposition, especially from those who cannot anymore shamelessly profit from the system they were part of. But this is why I was elected and for me there will be one focus and one focus only: to improve and develop football, worldwide. And today I am more committed and decided than ever to continue fulfilling this task.’
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