January 10, 2020 / 4:53 PM / 8 days ago

Infantino joins IOC as member to end FIFA's five-year absence

FIFA president Gianni Infantino gives oath after his election as International Olympic Committee (IOC) member during the 135th Session in Lausanne, Switzerland, January 10, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - FIFA president Gianni Infantino was on Friday elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee, ending a five-year period when soccer had no representation in the Olympic body.

FIFA and World Athletics, the global governing bodies of two of the biggest sports in the Olympics, had been absent from the IOC since the departure of their respective former presidents Sepp Blatter and Lamine Diack in 2015.

Both former presidents were involved in corruption investigations, prompting the IOC to delay their successors’ inclusion as members.

World Athletics is still without an IOC member after the Olympic body decided last month to delay the inclusion of its president Sebastian Coe due to what the IOC said was a conflict of interest.

Infantino was elected as a member with 63 in favour and 13 against. He joins International Tennis Federation chief David Haggerty and Japanese Olympic Committee president Yasuhiro Yamashita as the IOC’s latest members.

For decades prior to 2015, membership of the IOC for the heads of soccer and athletics was almost automatic.

Yet the two international federations had been left out in the cold as they struggled with widespread corruption and doping scandals which tarnished their images.

Diack, who has denied wrongdoing, faces a corruption trial in France later in January.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis

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