Gianni Infantino claimed that his selfie next to Pele’s open coffin was a gesture of kindness towards Pele’s team-mates.
Infantino was seen taking a selfie with a group, drawing global criticism.
The controversial FIFA chief has now hit back, claiming he was doing a favour for some of Pele’s old team-mates who struggled to master taking a selfie photograph.
‘Just landed from my trip to Brazil where I had the privilege to participate in the beautiful homage to Pelé that took place at Vila Belmiro, in Santos.
‘I am dismayed after having been informed that I am apparently being criticised by some people for having taken a selfie and pictures at the ceremony yesterday.
‘I would like to clarify that I was both honoured and humbled that team-mates 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 team-mates asked to do a selfie of all of us together but they didn’t know how to do it.
‘I have so much respect and admiration for Pelé and for that ceremony yesterday that I would never do anything that would be disrespectful in any way whatsoever, Infantino wrote on Instagram.
‘I hope that those who published or said things without knowing and without seeking information could have the decency and courage to admit they were wrong and correct what they said.
The most important in any case is to pay tribute to King Pelé, and whilst I humbly suggested that throughout our 211 member associations at least one football stadium or venue is named after him, we will set the example by giving the pitch in our headquarters the name ‘Estádio Pelé – FIFA Zürich’. Um abraço e viva o Rei!