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Infantino rejects Blatter's criticism of African cleanup

CAIRO (AP) FIFA president Gianni Infantino promised unwavering support for the scandal-ridden and dysfunctional African soccer confederation on Thursday as he deflected criticism by Sepp Blatter and others that FIFA was exceeding its authority by overseeing a cleanup operation to stem the embarrassment.

Speaking to African soccer officials at their meeting in Cairo, Infantino said he had "to laugh" in the face of Blatter's criticism that FIFA was engaging in modern-day "colonialism" by sending secretary general Fatma Samoura to oversee a six-month forensic audit and administrative reform of the Confederation of African Football.

"I have heard about colonization, that FIFA is colonizing Africa again," Infantino said, a clear reference to the statement released by former FIFA boss Blatter to the BBC this week. "What does it mean, colonialization? I don't know. It's not part of my vocabulary. But I know what it means to work, to team up. ... We all suffer when we see what is going on here (at CAF)."