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Infantino upbeat on eve of first congress

Looking to the future: Infantino delivers his address during Uefa’s Ordinary Congress in Budapest (Photograph by Tibor Illyes/MTI/AP)

Gianni Infantino is in an upbeat mood ahead of his first congress in charge of Fifa.

The Fifa president believes the world governing body is on the verge of “an exciting new era,” and will hope to use Friday’s meeting in Mexico City to move on from a major corruption scandal and address other problems dogging the sport around the world.

Elected as president in February, Infantino has been charged with steering football out of the crisis in which dozens of football officials from a number of countries were indicted in the United States.

The main focus of Fifa’s annual Congress will be bringing its 209 member football associations, among them representatives from the Bermuda Football Association, up to speed with recent reforms designed to stamp out corruption.

The election for the new Concacaf president will also take place in Mexico City on Thursday, with Larry Mussenden, the BFA president, firmly in the running. He and Victor Montagliani are the only official candidates, although Gordon Derrick, the Caribbean Football Union president, who was barred from running by Fifa, is likely to wield significant influence behind the scenes.

Mussenden and a BFA delegation including Mark Wade, the vice-president, David Sabir, the general secretary, and James Davis, the BFA treasurer, leave for Mexico City this morning. The CFU will hold a meeting tomorrow afternoon, before the Concacaf Congress on Thursday.

Once that is over the BFA delegation will turn their attention to what Infantino has to say, with many of the region’s administrators keen to hear how he plans to salvage Fifa’s battered reputation.

“After going through some uneasy times, I truly believe that the organisation is on the verge of an exciting new era and that we can unite to work towards our common goal of developing football across the globe and at all levels,” Infantino said. “The Fifa Congress is a key milestone in our commitment to put the reforms into action and lead Fifa and football forward. An important part of Fifa’s recovery is to engage with the football world, including former top players.”

His leadership must also deal with other problems, including the chronic financial difficulties and poor administration seen in many parts of the world, far from the glitter of competitions like the Champions League and top clubs such as Barcelona.