FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Thursday said his 2016 election win was partly inspired by Rwanda’s recovery after the genocide in 1994.
During a speech at FIFA’s Congress in Kigali, Rwanda, Infantino said that he was weighing pulling out of the election race — before a visit to Rwanda’s genocide memorial changed his mind.
Infantino said that on a previous trip to Rwanda for a football tournament sometime before the 2016 vote an unidentified official told him that, “we really love you, but we’re not going to support you.”
The Swiss-Italian football boss was on the brink of throwing in the towel when he recalled a visit to the memorial.
“I said, who I am to give up,” Infantino said. “What this country has suffered and how this country came back up is inspiring for the entire world.”
“So I certainly couldn’t give up because someone was telling me something,” he added. “I stayed, I attended the match, I continued to campaign … I was elected FIFA president.”
In 1994, an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus died in a brutal 100-day genocide in Rwanda, carried out by the Hutu majority government and militias.
Infantino was reelected unopposed for a new term as FIFA president Thursday.
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