(WFI) INSIDER understands that Gianni Infantino is demanding an apology from the communications director of the European Parliament for “falsely” suggesting he failed to show up for today’s FIFA forum because it was “unethical”.
In a letter to European MEPs on Wednesday, obtained by INSIDER, the Swiss candidate for the FIFA presidency reacted angrily to a memo from Damián Castano Martin, directorate-general for communications.
“The Italian candidate said that this debate is “un-ethical of the election” and candidates would be declared “un-aptes” if they participate in the debate,” Martin’s Jan. 26 email to MEPs said, by way of explaining why the FIFA presidential debate in the European Parliament was cancelled.
“This statement is categorically false,” the UEFA general secretary fumed in his letter to MEPs to explain his absence.
“Mr. Infantino has never suggested that a European Parliament debate on the subject of the FIFA presidency would be considered “unethical” or that candidates would be considered “un-aptes” if they were to participate in such a debate,” said Infantino, who was born in Switzerland but is of Italian origin.
“Accordingly, it is a blatant falsehood for your own communications department to suggest otherwise.”
Infantino demanded an apology “for offence caused and damage suffered”.
The letter was copied in to all recipients of the message from Martin “in order to put the record straight and to ensure that the European Parliament is not a victim of misinformation disseminated by its own communications department”.
Of the five contenders for the FIFA presidency, only Jerome Champagne showed up in Brussels today.
Infantino had earlier informed organizers, including #NewFIFANow, that he was unable to attend due to campaigning in Central America and Paraguay where he was lobbying CONMEBOL federation leaders this week.
Prince Ali and Tokyo Sexwale pulled out on Monday, while Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said he had Asian Football Confederation commitments. Prince Ali had cited a possible breach of FIFA electoral rules, although this was disputed by the FIFA committee overseeing the election process. Sexwale dropped out soon after the presidential hopeful from Jordan declined to attend.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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