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Infantino says FIFA's 'crisis is over'

Associated Press Associated Press 13/05/2016 By Rob Harris

FIFA's corruption crisis has been declared as over by new president Gianni Infantino, as the scandal-battered governing body broke new ground by appointing a Senegalese United Nations official as its first female and first non-European secretary general.

Fatma Samoura has no experience working in sports but Infantino hopes that will help it try to regain the trust and credibility of the world after far-reaching corruption, bribery, and financial misconduct.

"Nobody can change the past but I can shape the future," Infantino told his first FIFA Congress as president since succeeding the banned Sepp Blatter.

"FIFA is back on track. So I can officially inform you here, the crisis is over."

Samoura is set to replace Jerome Valcke, who was fired by FIFA and banned from soccer for 12 years by the organisation's independent judiciary over corruption claims.

The 54-year-old speaks French, English, Spanish, and Italian but appears to have no experience dealing with commercial deals and broadcasters - a key part of the job as FIFA's top administrator.

Infantino has more experience in those areas, after nine years leading UEFA's business operations as general secretary.

Infantino assured FIFA delegates that Samoura is used to "managing big organisations, big budgets, human resources, finance."

Samoura is currently working for the UN in Nigeria.

"She will bring a fresh wind to FIFA," Infantino said.

"Somebody from outside not somebody from inside, not somebody from the past. Somebody new, somebody who can help us do the right thing in the future."

FIFA expects her to start work at its Zurich headquarters in mid-June, with just a year until Russia hosts the Confederations Cup, the 2018 World Cup warm-up event, and with concerns continuing about preparations for the 2022 tournament in Qatar.

Meanwhile, the organisation swelled to 211 members after Gibraltar and Kosovo were admitted in time for European qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

And FIFA grants for development projects are climbing from $400,000 per year for each member association to $1.25 million.

But with the corruption scandal still fresh, Infantino warned member countries: "Don't betray us. Don't misuse the money."

Indonesia's FIFA ban has been lifted after the government agreed to end its suspension of the soccer federation.

Benin joined Kuwait in being suspended due to government interference in their federations' independence.

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