FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said he is “disappointed” after he was criticized for taking a selfie close to Pele’s body.
A photo released by Reuters shows the most powerful man in world football holding a mobile phone as he stands alongside former teammates of the Brazilian great, including Lima.
In the picture, there is only the dead body in front of him. The firstlies in an open casket at the stadium of his former club Santos before being laid to rest.
Sky News has included the image below but has cropped it so the yellow is not visible.
Responding to criticism as he tried to play down the controversy, Infantino wrote on Instagram that Pele’s teammates “asked us all to take a selfie but they didn’t know how to do it”.
“So, to be helpful, I took one of them’s phone and took a picture of us all for him.”
He added: “If Pele’s support for a team-mate leads to criticism, I’m happy to take it and I’ll continue to support people as much as I contribute to writing the pages of football legend.”
His Instagram statement was accompanied by two photos of him and Pele’s teammates, including a selfie.
“I have so much respect and admiration for Pele and for the event yesterday that I would never do anything that would be disrespectful in any way,” Infantino said.
Amid criticism on social media, the head of world football’s governing body was described as “classless”, “disrespectful”, “horrible” and “disgusting” by some Twitter users.
Another user compared him to his predecessor, Sepp Blatter, who led corruption-ridden FIFA but himself cleared of corruption, writing: “Thought it couldn’t be worse than Blatter. He’s fifty times worse. Is.”
Pele’s coffin was carried through the streets as a public bid farewell.
The IFA will ask each country to name a stadium in Pele’s honour.
Thousands of fans are lining up to see Hero Pele’s casket.
Someone on Twitter also called for Infantino to be arrested.
Pele, whose real name was Edson Arantes do Nescimento, He died on Friday at the age of 82. After a battle with colon cancer.
The star, widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time, will be laid to rest today at the Ecumenical Memorial Necropolis Cemetery overlooking the Santos Stadium.
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