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FIFA chief Gianni Infantino cleared of ethics violations

Afolabi Sotunde / Reuters

FIFA's independent ethics committee has found the body's president, Gianni Infantino, not guilty of possible violations after investigations just five months into his tenure.

A leaked internal memo from FIFA outlined various alleged wrongdoings by the new chief, including boarding planes paid for by a World Cup bidding country, the hiring of people to senior roles without checking their eligibility, and billing FIFA for personal expenses such as laundry, mattresses, and travel.

Infantino has been cleared though, with the ethics committee finding no conflicts of interest in the Italian's conduct.

"It was found that no violation of the FIFA code of ethics had been committed by Mr Infantino," the ethics committee said in a statement.

It added: "The benefits enjoyed by Mr Infantino were not considered improper" after several weeks of interviews with the president himself and witnesses.

Infantino released his reaction to the verdict in his own statement, which began:

FIFA President Gianni Infantino is pleased that, following a thorough review, the investigatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has determined that "no violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE) has been committed." This decision has been accepted by the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, which conducted its own comprehensive review of the decision.

Infantino pledged to clean up FIFA following his election as president in February. His predecessor, Sepp Blatter, was embroiled in a corruption scandal following swathes of arrests of football officials in the United States in 2015. That led to widespread investigations of the world's governing body and the eventual suspension of Blatter from all football-related activity for six years. His UEFA counterpart Michel Platini was given a four-year ban.

Probes into the bidding processes of the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 finals in Qatar are still ongoing.

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