Gianni Infantino, the Fifa president, was under investigation by the organisation’s ethics committee for more than one separate alleged instance of malpractice when he organised the sudden removal of the committee chairmen and members last month.
The Guardian has learned that the Swiss prosecutor Cornel Borbély, who was chairman of the ethics committee’s “investigatory chamber”, had begun examining complaints that Infantino and the Fifa general secretary, Fatma Samoura, improperly sought to influence the election in March of their favoured candidate for president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Ahmad Ahmad .
The allegations are understood to include claims from senior figures in African football that Infantino and Samoura promised FA presidents, in a series of private meetings, that they could accelerate the payment of Fifa development money to their football associations if the presidents voted for Ahmad.
Infantino is said to have manoeuvred for the ousting of the longstanding CAF president, Issa Hayatou, because Hayatou did not support him in the Fifa presidential election last year, instead endorsing the rival candidate, Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa of Bahrain.
Borbély is also understood to have been in the early stages of an investigation into a further possible ethics breach by Infantino.
Infantino’s opportunity to claim the highest office in football administration landed because the ethics committee in December 2015 banned the previous Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, and the favourite to succeed him, the then Uefa president Michel Platini, for malpractice.
Infantino, Uefa’s general secretary at the time, threw himself relentlessly into his campaign to become president instead, making a central promise to provide much more money to national football associations, and flying repeatedly around the world, including by private jet, to assure voting FA presidents of his credentials. Infantino declared publicly that he had…