Stranger than fiction

He’s the head of the central bank in Finland and a rising hawk within the EU. So why is Olli Rehn, the vice president of Fifa’s governance committee, risking his reputation by publicly praising Fifa president Gianni Infantino, who is the subject of a criminal investigation?

By Pål Ødegård

The Finn Olli Rehn was recently announced as the leader of Fifa’s new supposedly independent steering committee for the COVID-19 aid plan, which consists of using Fifa funds totalling 1,5 billion US dollars as handouts to member associations across the globe, in order to cushion the negative economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In a speech during a club conference in the Finnish football association, Olli Rehn made eyebrow-raising comments about Fifa president Gianni Infantino, which has also been published on the association’s web site:

"In recent years, under the leadership of its President, Gianni Infantino, FIFA has focused above all on its reform by following sustainable ethical rules and principles of good governance. FIFA is today a very different organization than it was five years ago and there is no longer any basis or element allowing vague accusations to be made. It should be noted that FIFA was obliged to cooperate with the authorities and it is important to keep in mind that there were - and still are - around 20 ongoing investigations with the prosecutor's office general in which FIFA is an injured party.”

The full speech by Olli Rehn can be found HERE. 

Under the influence
Olli Rehn’s support fo...

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