FIFA President Gianni Infantino responded to the criticism following his poorly timed photograph during Pelé’s public wake on Monday.
During the ceremony, photographers caught FIFA President Gianni Infantino taking a selfie just a few feet away from Pelé’s body at Vila Belmiro Stadium in Santos, Brazil, where the football legend played for 18 years.
Pelé’s daughter, Kelly Cristina Nascimento, can be seen greeting mourners near the casket in the Reuters photograph, while Infantino poses in the background.
Infantino clarified the viral moment and shared a different angle of the photo with Pelé’s teammates, including best friend Manoel Maria.
“I am dismayed after having been informed that I am apparently being criticized by some people for having taken a selfie and pictures at the ceremony yesterday,” Infantino said on Instagram.
“I would like to clarify that I was both honoured and humbled that teammates and family members of the great Pelé asked me if I could take a few photos with them. And obviously I immediately agreed.”
“In the case of the selfie, Pelé’s teammates asked to do a selfie of all of us together but they didn’t know how to do it. So, to be helpful, I took the phone of one of them and took the photo of all of us for him.”
The world’s football governing leader was among the first to pay homage to the deceased, attending the 24-hour wake along with the heads of the South American and Brazilian football confederations.