Gianni Infantino laid out his achievements in two years as FIFA President today ©Getty Images

Gianni Infantino began a year-long campaign for re-election as FIFA President today with a Congress address in which he claimed to have transformed the organisation from being "clinically dead" to "alive and well". 

He formally announced his intentions to stand in Paris in June 2019 during his closing address today at this year's Congress.

Infantino, who has not yet confirmed his plans to stand again next year, had earlier followed the precedent often set by his predecessor Sepp Blatter by focussing on FIFA's distribution of development money in a bid to gain backing from 211 members.

"After two years, it is time to take stock," Infantino began, in his Presidential address. 

"In 2016, FIFA was clinically dead as an organisation. 

"Today, a bit over two years later, FIFA is alive and well and filled with joy and passion - and, with a vision for its future.

"It goes without saying that we have to respect our rules, we have to be transparent in our money flows, we have to be accountable and be careful in what we do. 

"I am aware this work does not hit the headlines unless something goes wrong, then it does hit the headlines. 

"We have put in place mechanisms to stop things going wrong and, if they do, we have the mechanisms to make sure it is addressed, no matter who is involved. 

"We can intervene decisively in every matter."

The Swiss lawyer was elected in February 2016, just nine months after a joint American and Swiss investigation unfolded into numerous allegations of bribery and corruption surrounding senior FIFA officials.

Gianni Infantino, left, praised Vladimir Putin during the Congress today ©Getty Images
Gianni Infantino, left, praised Vladimir Putin during the Congress today ©Getty Images

Infantino claimed that FIFA has become an "open and democratic organisation, where participation is not just an empty word but a fact".

He also hailed supposed innovations, including the introduction of VAR (Video Assistant Referees) technology for the World Cup starting here tomorrow.

"In the last two years, we received around 1,800 development projects from all over the world," he added. 

"In the previous years, it was 600 to 700, we did 1,800 in two years."

He hailed the "absolute transparency" in FIFA finances as it was confirmed that the four-year cycle ending this year has produced income of $6.1 billion (£4.6 billion/€5.2 billion).

Infantino also suggested that each national Football Association (FA) will receive $6 million ($4.5 million/€5.1 million) for investment in football projects.

The official also received a ringing endorsement from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who praised his "principles and justice" and "positive approach towards our country".

No opponent has yet emerged, but Infantino's reforms have been met with opposition by some, and a growing rift is thought to have opened with UEFA and its President Aleksander Čeferin in recent weeks.

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