Football’s governing body FIFA have released a statement claiming that recent reports from Football Leaks by Der Spiegel are a “deliberate attempt to discredit FIFA” and undermine their new leadership.
The German news outlet claimed that the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and FIFA president Gianni Infantino had all been involved in fraudulent activities. Former UEFA chief Michel Platini and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy have also been named.
“Four weeks ago, a group of journalists sent several hundred questions to FIFA, based on private and internal e-mails and other information which had been accessed (illegally) by third parties,” FIFA said in their statement.
“Despite the fact that we answered the questions posed to us in a straight-forward and honest manner, certain media decided to ignore most of our answers and to distort both the facts and the truth in a deliberate attempt to discredit FIFA and to mislead their readers. This is evident.
“FIFA welcomes honest and thoughtful investigative reporting and fully respects objective journalists. We do not always expect that they will share our views or opinions, however, all we ask for is a fair and truthful account of the work which we are doing, and which we will continue to do, for football.
“We will happily engage with all media who would like to gain a clearer understanding of our work, of the changes which we have made, and who would like to contribute to the success of the organisation going forward.
“Most likely, this will not entail putting a one-sided “spin” on things, and attempting to blacken the character of those who are working hard to improve the situation of world football.
“We will not be distracted from our work as FIFA is unarguably in a far better position than it was two years ago. We welcome any constructive debate. And we will continue to move forward, stronger and more committed than ever.”
Within their statement FIFA claim that many of these allegations have stemmed from former employees who were part of the widely condemned regime prior to Infantino’s election in February 2016.
Infantino himself said that he was expecting strong opposition from “those who cannot anymore shamelessly profit” under FIFA’s former regime.
Both Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have also responded to the reports. PSG stressed they have complied with laws and regulations, while the reigning Premier League champions refused to comment on the “attempt to damage” the club’s reputation.