Five months ago, the new FIFA president wasn’t even a candidate for the job. Now, Gianni Infantino is officially the man to replace Sepp Blatter and bring FIFA into a new generation.

“We will restore the image of FIFA and the respect of FIFA and everyone in the world will applaud us and will applaud all of you for what we will do in FIFA in the future,” Infantino said after accepting the job of FIFA president some eight hours after voting began. “We have to be proud of FIFA and everyone has to be proud of FIFA.”

Infantino worked tirelessly in a few short months to secure the votes to become head of the largest governing body in the world of football. He traveled around the globe over the last few weeks, meeting with federation heads to try to garner enough support to win a heated election and become the new face of FIFA.

To say this is a surprise is an understatement, given how much support had been given to Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa in recent weeks. Sheikh Salman was the odds-on favorite to win the election, right up until the first round of voting was announced.

The first round was something of a shock, as reports just before the vote was announced suggested Sheikh Salman may have as many as 113 votes of the 138 needed to win outright. There are 207 voting members in this election, and the first round needed a two-thirds majority, with subsequent rounds needing just a simple majority.

In the second round, 104 votes—that simple majority—is all that was needed, so Salman getting past the 104 threshold on the first vote would have been a clear sign that he had locked up the election, with the second round become nothing but a mere formality.

When the first round was announced, though, it was Infantino who had the lead, with 88 votes to Salman’s 85. Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein had 27 votes, and Jerome Champagne had just seven. Tokyo Sexwale, the fifth candidate, had dropped out after a rousing speech that started with him saying he would never drop out.

When Infantino had the lead after the first round, that’s when the horse-trading for those 34 votes started in earnest.

The second round went Infantino’s way, thanks in large part to U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, who was seen talking with Infantino during much of the second vote, bringing other delegates to him to converse. The assumption is that Gulati helped deliver many of Prince Ali’s first round votes—of which the USSF was one—to Infantino, to ensure that Salman did not win election. After the vote, Gulati told Grant Wahl of Fox Sports it was, “a good day for the sport.”

Salman has been accused of human rights violations for his treatments of footballers in his home of Bahrain and was seen as the last candidate U.S. Soccer wanted to see in office. Gulati is very happy with the outcome, keeping his integrity by voting for Prince Ali, then being in part responsible for delivering Infantino the win.

Of course, Infantino isn’t exactly a real reform candidate. He is as connected to the old FIFA as anyone, going so far as to promise $1.2 billion to “all” the FIFA organizations, suggesting he will spread the wealth evenly, no matter how big the federations may be.

Infantino has been an integral part of UEFA’s inner circle, serving as secretary general since 2009. Of Italian heritage, Infantino was actually born in Brig, Switzerland, less than 10 kilometers from Sepp Blatter’s hometown. Yes, the man who grew up 12 minutes away from Blatter’s home and worked for Michel Platini at UEFA is the next FIFA president.

Reform, here we come!

And yet, this should be good for FIFA, and good for the United States, especially if Gulati gets credit for helping Infantino secure the election, which it sounds like he is. With Salman in the lead chair, the United States getting another World Cup seemed highly unlikely. Now, everything is possible.

Everything, including a 40-team World Cup, and idea Infantino supports. Changes are certainly coming to FIFA, and those changes are not just in the lead chair either, as the committee voted sweeping reforms earlier in the day.

There will be more oversight, shorter presidential terms and more women included in the council. Oh, and the clandestine FIFA ExCo is now gone, replaced by a bigger, and hopefully more transparent council.

Maybe it is time for reform.

About Dan Levy

Dan Levy has written a lot of words in a lot of places, most recently as the National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. He was host of The Morning B/Reakaway on Sirius XM's Bleacher Report Radio for the past year, and previously worked at Sporting News and Rutgers University, with a concentration on sports, media and public relations.