If there were any lingering doubts about whether Gianni Infantino has taken full, personal, complete Blatter-like control over the FIFA universe, they were utterly demolished in Bahrain yesterday.
In a chaotic session of the full FIFA Congress, the Bald headed Swiss attorney managed to gavel the proceedings closed without actually allowing a vote on the question of whether the Palestinian FA can shut down Israeli soccer teams that play their games in West Bank settlements.
As discussed previously, the question of PFA control was on the published agenda and FIFA's constitution says that when that happens it must be voted on by the Congress as a whole.
Instead, when the time came, Infantino put this slide up on the massive projection screen at the front of the room:
PFA President Jabril Rajoub was immediately on his feet, angrily shouting and waving a photo purporting to show Israeli soldiers preventing Palestinian children from playing soccer.
Noting that Infantino has not released the Sexwale report, Rajoub said:
“Until now all FIFA initiatives have failed …due to the pressure exercised by the Israeli government...
“None of you would accept clubs from another association playing on your territory. That’s all we want. We are not looking for suspension of expulsion of Israel. What we are proposing is a football solution presented by Tokyo Sexwale. Why has his report not been presented to this congress? Why was the item removed from the agenda? We’ve already had delay after delay. What exactly has Tokyo Sexwale achieved?"
(The language became so heated at one point that Infantino had to interrupt and ask that he tone it down.)
From the podium, Infantino announced that the commission report had not been "consolidated" (whatever that means) and that not even the council had seen it. They only got a verbal report at Tuesday's session.
Furthermore, he announced that he, Infantino, had determined that hereafter this is an issue that will be dealt with by the Council, not the Congress.
This again brought Rajoub to his feet,this time in the company of his "legal team", furiously insisting that FIFA's constitution demands that a properly submitted proposal from any Federation must be voted on, without exception.
Infantino responded that he was substituting the proposal shown above which gives Sexwale until October to present a report to the Council and gives them all until next March to distribute it to the federations.
IFA President Ofer Eini then took the floor and described Rajoub’s arguments as “political from start to finish”, adding:
"The sole purpose (of the PFA proposal) is to establish the political boundaries. This is outside the authority of FIFA to establish borders."
“I do not intend to give a hate speech in return … this Congress has to do everything within its power to have everyone playing football everywhere.”
Infantino then called for a vote on his proposal which passed with 73% of the vote. All of the 50 votes against the proposal came from Asia and Africa.
The bottom line is that FIFA managed to dodge a question which a) they don't want to have to deal with and b) is way beyond their competence anyway.
So the issue is put off for another day, at which point they'll likely find a way to delay it some more.
The only thing we really found out yesterday is that Infantino now has the kind of iron control over FIFA that allows him to ignore the constitution, blow off procedure and makeup rules when it suits him.
Somewhere Sepp is smiling.