- The state decoration was presented by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin
- It was awarded for Infantino’s “enormous contribution to the organisation" of Russia 2018
FIFA President Gianni Infantino was presented with the Russian Order of Friendship by Russian President Vladimir Putin today. In the case of citizens of foreign countries, this state decoration is awarded, among other things, for special acts of merit serving to foster peace, friendship, cooperation and mutual understanding between nations. The ceremony took place at Moscow’s Kremlin, from where Infantino headed to Poland for the hosts’ opening match of the FIFA U‑20 World Cup against Colombia.
“I want to thank you for everything that you did for the World Cup in Russia and for your glowing assessment of our efforts,” said President Putin. “I know that you have a lot of work ahead. We are always at your disposal and on hand to support you in implementing your plans to develop football around the world.”
"You welcomed the world as friends and those bonds of friendship will never be broken," replied President Infantino. “This is not the end; it is only the beginning of our fruitful cooperation and interaction. On behalf of the whole football world, which means four or five billion people across the globe, thank you very much.”
The Order of Friendship was established in 1994 and has previously been awarded to the likes of Ban Ki-moon, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Jacques Rogge, the former President of the International Olympic Committee, and several renowned Russian athletes.