Infantino elected FIFA President

The Swiss football administrator secured 115 votes out of 207 in the second round and will be in charge of the world governing body from 2016 to 2019.

Gianni Infantino (right) of Switzerland won the FIFA presidential election with 115 votes.   -  AP

fifa congress - cropped

Members cast their votes during the FIFA Congress in Zurich.

Gianni Infantino is the new president of FIFA after securing 115 votes in the second round of Friday's election in Zurich. Infantino sprung a surprise by outstripping favourite Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa in the first round by 88 votes to 85.

In round two, candidates required a simple majority of 104 and Infantino comfortably broke through this barrier to become the successor to Sepp Blatter. Bahrain's Sheikh Salman took 88 votes second time around, with Prince Ali bin al-Hussein and Jerome Champagne taking four and zero respectively.

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"Dear friends, I cannot express my feelings in this moment. I told you I went through a journey, an exceptional journey, a journey which made me meet many fantastic people, many people who love, live, breathe football every day," Infantino said in his acceptance speech. "We will restore the image and respect of FIFA. People will applaud us, applaud you for what we will do.





"Everyone has to be proud of what we will do at FIFA. I want to thank you all, all 209 and the other candidates. Tokyo [Sexwale] decided four can win, one cannot win. We had a great competition, [a] great sign of democracy in FIFA.

"I want to be president of all 209 [member federations]. I have travelled the globe and I will continue to do this. I want to work with all of you together in order to restore and rebuild a new FIFA where we can put again football at the centre of the stage."

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A Platini loyalist

Multi-lingual Swiss lawyer Infantino began working at UEFA in 2000 and rose to the position of secretary general in 2009, where he served under president Michel Platini.

Platini's suspension and subsequent ban from all football-related activity in relation to a payment made by FIFA and signed off by the also barred Blatter in 2011 left the European confederation needing a fresh candidate for the election.

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A 40-team World Cup

They turned to Infantino hours before October's election deadline and the 45-year-old, who maintained his support for Platini's attempts to clear his name, garnered the support of major football names such as Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho before, crucially, persuading enough national federations to back his reform manifesto.

Having helped to implement the expansion of the European Championship from a 16- to 24-team national tournament, Infantino's pre-election pledges include a commitment to increasing the number of countries at the World Cup from 32 to 40.

Stalemate after Round 1

Earlier, the elections for the new FIFA president went to a second round after no candidate was able to secure a two-thirds majority at the end of the first round. Tokyo Sexwale withdrew from the race to succeed Sepp Blatter just minutes prior to the opening of the polls, meaning associations were asked to vote for one of Gianni Infantino, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein and Jerome Champagne.

However, no candidate was able to accrue the necessary majority of 138 votes from a possible 207, meaning a second ballot will be required. Infantino received 88 votes, while Sheikh Salman - the other pre-vote favourite - took 85.

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