17th September, 2020
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has met U.S. President Donald Trump to discuss preparations for the 2026 World Cup, the global football body said on Thursday.
The U.S. is to co-host the finals with Mexico and Canada.
FIFA said in a statement that Infantino travelled to Washington to discuss the establishment of a FIFA headquarters in the U.S. for the tournament and review preparations.
“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 football in the U.S.,” it said.
Infantino also made a courtesy visit to U.S. Attorney General William Barr where he used the opportunity to “personally thank the U.S. authorities… for their work in the fight against corruption in football.”
Several dozen football officials, mainly from Latin America and the Caribbean, were indicted in the U.S. in 2015 on corruption charges leading to the biggest scandal in FIFA’s history.
Several of those have since been jailed.
“Ever since I was elected, we have shown our determination to eradicate the malpractices which tarnished FIFA’s reputation in the past,” Infantino, who was elected in 2016, was quoted as saying.
“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,” he added.
“In this way, I am fully convinced that the credibility and reputation of FIFA are being restored at the highest level.”
Infantino himself is the subject of criminal proceedings in his native Switzerland.
These were launched by a special prosecutor looking into meetings the FIFA president had with former Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber.
Lauber and Infantino have denied wrongdoing.