Football fans were left surprised when Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, attended a Championship game in England. The Italian-Swiss rarely attends matches in the country, and his presence at Millwall’s home game against Norwich at The Den on Saturday afternoon was unexpected. The game ended 3-2 to the visitors, with the Canaries moving above Millwall and into the play-off places. However, it was Infantino’s attendance that got fans talking online, with many expressing their disbelief and confusion at his choice of fixture.
One fan on social media said, “No way is that really him”, while another added, “Clearly asked to see the best team in London”. A third fan replied, “Is he lost!!”, and a fourth fan responded, “wtf is going on here lol”. Infantino’s visit to Millwall comes after he hit the headlines back in January for another strange public appearance. The FIFA chief appeared to take a selfie while standing by Pele’s open casket during the Brazil legend’s funeral.
Infantino was forced to take to Instagram to explain his actions, saying, “I am dismayed after having been informed that I am apparently being criticized by some people for having taken a selfie and pictures at the ceremony yesterday. I would like to clarify that I was both honoured and humbled that teammates and family members of the great Pelé asked me if I could take a few photos with them. And obviously I immediately agreed.”
He went on to explain that in the case of the selfie, Pelé’s teammates asked to do a selfie of all of them together but they didn’t know how to do it. So, to be helpful, Infantino took the phone of one of them and took the photo of all of them for him. He added, “If being helpful to a teammate of Pelé creates criticism I’m happy to take it and will continue to be helpful wherever I can to those having contributed to write legendary pages of football.”
Infantino’s attendance at The Den has left many wondering why he chose this particular game. He has not attended many matches in England, and his presence at a Championship game has raised eyebrows. However, it is not uncommon for high-profile figures in football to attend games at all levels of the sport.
Football is a global game, and Infantino’s role as president of FIFA means that he is responsible for overseeing the development of football worldwide. This includes promoting the game at all levels, from grassroots to elite professional football. Attending games at different levels of the sport allows him to see how football is developing in different countries and regions around the world.
Infantino’s visit to Millwall may have been unexpected, but it is not unusual for high-profile figures in football to attend games at all levels of the sport. His role as president of FIFA means that he has a responsibility to promote football worldwide, and attending games at different levels allows him to see how the sport is developing in different countries and regions around the world. While fans may have been surprised by his presence at The Den, it is a reminder that football is a global game that can be enjoyed at all levels.