Gianni Infantino, FIFA president, has stated that he is “dismayed,” after being criticised for taking a photo near Pele’s body while he was in state.
The Reuters news agency released a photo showing the world’s most powerful footballer holding a phone while he stood beside some of his former team-mates, including Lima.
The body of Peele is visible in the photo. He was lying in an open coffin in the stadium of his former club Santos, before he was taken to the grave.
Sky News has included this image, but has cropped it so that Pele is not apparent.
Infantino responded to criticisms and tried to diffuse the controversy by posting on Instagram that Pele’s teammates “asked to take a selfie of all the team together, but they didn’t know how”.
“So, to help, I took one of their phones and took a photo of us all for him.”
He said: “If I have to criticize a team-mate, I’m happy to accept it. I will continue to help those who contributed to the legendary pages of football.”
His Instagram statement was accompanied with two photos of him (and Pele) and their team-mates including one selfie.
Infantino stated, “I have such respect and admiration to Pele and that ceremony yesterday that that I would never do any thing that would be disrespectful in anyway whatsoever.”
Twitter users criticized the head of the governing body for world football as being “classless”, “disgraceful”, “horrible”, and “disgusting”.
Another user compared him to his predecessor Sepp Blatter, who was a corrupt FIFA leader but was later cleared. He’s fifty-fifty times worse.
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One Twitter user even demanded that Infantino be arrested.
Pele, originally known as Edson Arantes Do Nascimento , , died last Friday at 82 , following a long battle with colon cancer.
The legendary footballer was buried in the Ecumenical Cemetery Memorial Necropolis cemetery, overlooking the Santos Stadium, on Tuesday.