FIFA president Gianni Infantino has been diagnosed with COVID-19, global soccer’s governing body announced on Tuesday.
The Swiss-Italian, 50, has experienced mild symptoms and is in isolation, where he will remain for 10 days, according to the press release containing the news. It added that people who have recently come into contact with Infantino, who has served as FIFA’s president since 2016, “have been informed accordingly and they are being requested to take the necessary steps.”
Infantino was elected to his position a few months after longtime FIFA president Sepp Blatter left office in disgrace amid a wide-ranging bribery scandal that resulted in several top soccer officials going to prison. The organization’s ethics committee ended up suspending Blatter for eight years, although the ban was reduced by 24 months on appeal.
Infantino traveled to the United States last month to attend a White House ceremony that marked the new diplomatic relationship between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. That timeline suggests he was not infected there despite an outbreak that resulted in dozens of people, including U.S. president Donald Trump, contracting the coronavirus.
Infantino visited Washington on Sept. 17, nine days before a Rose Garden event identified as the cause of the White House’s outbreak. The incubation period for COVID-19 is no more than 14 days, making it likely that Infantino became infected earlier this month. Switzerland, where FIFA is based, has seen 18 percent of its total coronavirus cases diagnosed since Oct. 23. Infantino also traveled earlier this month to Qatar, host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, to meet with organizers.
Since August, Infantino has been under investigation by Swiss law enforcement authorities who suspect that he may have illegally pressured the country’s attorney general into abusing the powers of that office. Infantino has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crime.
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