Gianni Infantino won the FIFA presidential election in an upset on Friday, edging out Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman in the second round of voting.
A 45-year-old Swiss-Italian lawyer, Infantino had previously served as UEFA’s General Secretary and almost did not enter the special presidential race to replace Sepp Blatter. It was only after UEFA President Michel Platini was suspended from FIFA for eight years as a result of corruption that Infantino decided to throw his hat into the ring, and now he will serve as president until 2019.
Leading up to the election, Infantino furiously travelled around the world, campaigning on good governance while also pledging to help continue the growth of small soccer nations. He also has said he wants to expand the field of the World Cup to 40 nations.
Winning on Friday kept Infantino perfect in elections. Indeed, the only other time Infantino ran for president came when he was just 18 years-old, when he decided to run for club president of a small amateur soccer club in his local town of Brig, Switzerland.
He won — and largely because he promised all the voters that, if they picked him, his mother would wash all their soccer uniforms.
As Infantino told the New York Times’ Sam Borden earlier this week, he ran as an outsider candidate against two “established” older men in Brig.
“I told them that if I won, my mother would wash all the kits each week,” Infantino said (via the Times), referring to the club members’ uniforms.
“And I won,” he added. “So she did.”
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