FIFA: ‘Ludicrous’ to claim Infantino plot to remove Scala

MILAN (AP) — An alleged plot by FIFA President Gianni Infantino to oust the official who oversaw the salary offer he refused to accept has been dismissed as “ludicrous” by world soccer’s governing body.

FIFA responded to reports in Saturday’s edition of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung which the German daily said were based on leaked details of FIFA Council meetings held this month.

Infantino told council members a proposed salary of 2 million Swiss francs ($2 million) was insulting, the newspaper claimed.

The offer was a significant cut on the $3 million base salary that Sepp Blatter was paid as FIFA president in 2015.

The Infantino-chaired ruling panel then discussed ways to remove FIFA audit committee chairman Domenico Scala, who oversaw the salary offer before the presidential election in February, the reports claimed.

British FIFA vice president David Gill led criticism of the alleged tactics to undermine Scala, according to leaked details of the meeting.

Scala resigned in Mexico City two weeks ago, one day after FIFA member federations decided to give Infantino’s Council power to fire elected leaders of independent audit and ethics committees.

“Any allegation that this decision would be the result of a ‘plot’ is ludicrous,” FIFA said Saturday. The statement did not directly address the details of the salary dispute.

FIFA and Infantino have not denied the $2 million offer, which was revealed by former FIFA anti-corruption adviser Mark Pieth, who helped bring Scala to FIFA in 2012 to oversee its billion-dollar annual revenue and spending.

Two weeks ago, FIFA said it was “dismayed to learn” that Pieth had any information about compensation matters.

Gill declined to comment on FIFA business in Milan where he and Infantino will attend the Champions League final on Saturday.

Infantino’s staff did not make him available for an interview.

Scala did not respond to a request to comment Saturday.

Leaks of detailed discussions by FIFA’s ruling panel reveal tension within the scandal-battered soccer body less than three months into Infantino’s presidency.

Infantino had declared FIFA’s crisis to be over in his keynote speech in Mexico City to world soccer leaders, who have seen dozens of former colleagues implicated in corruption over the past year during investigations by American and Swiss federal prosecutors and FIFA ethics investigators.

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