Maradona to work for ‘clean and transparent FIFA’

Ian Watson

Diego Maradona says he will be delighted to work with a “clean and transparent” FIFA after agreeing to assume a role with football’s world governing body.

The Argentinian great’s career peaked as he led his country to victory at the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico but he also suffered arguably his lowest point in FIFA’s flagship competition when he was sent home for failing a drugs test at the 1994 tournament.

Maradona said in a post on his official Facebook page: “Yes, it’s now official. I can finally fulfil one of the dreams of my life, to work for a clean and transparent FIFA, with people who love football.

“Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to face this new challenge.”

FIFA has been mired in scandal in recent years with former president Sepp Blatter serving a six-year ban from all football activity over a payment made to former UEFA president Michel Platini.

There is also an ongoing Swiss investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals to Russia and Qatar respectively.

The organisation’s new head, Gianni Infantino, is keen to establish closer links between FIFA and some of the game’s greatest players with former Holland star Marco van Basten now its chief officer for technical development.

A FIFA spokesperson told Press Association Sport: “In recognition of his outstanding and unique contribution to football, FIFA is looking for the best way to collaborate with Diego Armando Maradona, ensuring he has a major role in FIFA’s activities to promote the game across the globe, through his involvement in relevant development projects and the FIFA Legends’ programme.”

Maradona had been a fierce critic of FIFA prior to Infantino’s election, accusing its officials of barring him from watching Argentina’s game against Bosnia-Herzegovina at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

He also described them as “an incredible mafia” following Luis Suarez’s ban for biting an opponent at the same finals.