With Gianni Infantino’s running of world football being examined by a Swiss special prosecutor, FIFA’s hopes of shedding the image of scandal have been derailed by its president’s secret meetings with authorities.

“It’s a matter of record now that there is a criminal investigation — we can’t erase that,” FIFA deputy secretary general Alasdair Bell told The Associated Press on Monday.

“In that respect, the damage is, to some extent, irreversible.” It is five years since Sepp Blatter was toppled by a FIFA ethics verdict of financial wrongdoing which came in the fallout from a wave of arrests of high-ranking football officials by Swiss and American authorities.

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