English Premiership

FIFA chief hails Leicester 'fairytale'

2016-04-28 21:35
Gianni Infantino (AP)

Bangkok - FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Thursday hailed Leicester City's "fairytale" rise to the top of the Premier League as an example football's ability to delight with "beautiful stories."

Visiting Thailand, where he met with the kingdom's new Football Association chief, he said the Foxes' improbable table-topping feats proves cash is not always king.

"That's why we all love football, it's the magic of football. And fairytales like the fairytale of Leicester are exactly showing us that football is unpredictable," he told reporters.

"Football brings us every year, everywhere in the world, these kind of beautiful stories," he said.

He was speaking in the King Power Pullman hotel, part of a downtown complex including a mall owned by Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the Thai duty-free billionaire backing the once unfashionable midlands' outfit.

Leicester are one win away from securing the league title, defying 5000-1 odds.

The FIFA boss is on a charm offensive to restore the battered organistion's reputation after it was engulfed last year by a massive corruption scandal.

He said he was in favour of co-hosted World Cups, opening the door for smaller countries without massive infrastructure to hold the event.

Thai football has been mired in division and controversy after a cascade of scandals linked to deposed Football Association of Thailand chief Worawai Makudi.

Worawi, who had dominated the game in Thailand for years, is suspended from football activities by a FIFA ethics panel.

His successor is Somyot Poompanmoung, the pugnacious multi-millionaire who led Thailand's police force until his retirement last September.

In a glowing endorsement of Somyot, Infantino said "he's known as a person of principles, of integrity."

In the "new FIFA" he said there was zero tolerance to "wrongdoings that might have happened... I am convinced he (Somyot) is the right person to lead football in Thailand".

Somyot has vowed to clean up the sport, allocate funds fairly, raise refereeing standards and boost the quality of the Thai game -- he is also a close friend of Leicester owner Vichai.

His predecessor Worawi for years faced down fraud and bribery allegations, as well as a petition by tens of thousands of football fans urging Thailand's junta to kick him out of his job.

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Tuesday, 29 January 2019
Fulham v Brighton & Hove Albion, Craven Cottage 21:45
Arsenal v Cardiff City, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Wolverhampton Wanderers v West Ham United, Molineux Stadium 21:45
Huddersfield Town v Everton, The John Smith's Stadium 21:45
Manchester United v Burnley, Old Trafford 22:00
Newcastle United v Manchester City, St. James' Park 22:00
Wednesday, 30 January 2019
Southampton v Crystal Palace, St. Mary's Stadium 21:45
AFC Bournemouth v Chelsea, Vitality Stadium 21:45
Liverpool v Leicester City, Anfield 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Watford, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Saturday, 02 February 2019
Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 14:30
Everton v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Goodison Park 17:00
Crystal Palace v Fulham, Selhurst Park 17:00
Chelsea v Huddersfield Town, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Watford, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Burnley v Southampton, Turf Moor 17:00
Cardiff City v AFC Bournemouth, Cardiff City Stadium 19:30
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2018/19 season?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.