Infantino was re-elected as FIFA president


Gianni Infantino was re-elected as FIFA president until 2027, unopposed at the congress of world football’s governing body on Thursday.

The 52-year-old Swiss lawyer, who succeeded the disgraced Sepp Blatter in 2016, was elected to a third term by acclamation by the 211 member federation delegates, as he did four years ago.

“To all those who love me, and I know there are many, and I know there are not a few who hate me: I love you all,” Infantino told delegates in the Rwandan capital, where there is no voting system. registration of the number of dissidents.

Although FIFA’s statutes currently limit a president to a maximum of three to four-year terms, Infantino has set the stage for a stay until 2031, announcing in December that his first three years in charge would not count as a full term.

Infantino, who staunchly defended Qatar’s hosting of last year’s World Cup as the Gulf state’s treatment of migrant workers, women and the LGBTQ community came into the spotlight, has overseen the expansion of the men’s and women’s World Cups and huge increases in FIFA revenue.

The president of the Norwegian Football Federation, Lise Klaveness, said she would not support Infantino and suggested that Congress discuss “FIFA’s obligations to eliminate human rights abuses” regarding the World Cup in Qatar and future tournaments.

However, Infantino’s largely European rivals have failed to field a candidate to challenge the man who was once Michel Platini’s number two at UEFA.

“There is a lot to look forward to,” Infantino said, turning his thoughts to the next four years, declaring that the 2026 World Cup, the first edition expanded to 48 teams, would be “the most inclusive World Cup ever”. .

FIFA announced on Tuesday that the North American tournament will feature 104 matches, a big increase from 64 at the last World Cup, as it will begin with 12 groups of four teams.

The Women’s World Cup to be held later this year in Australia and New Zealand will be the first of 32 teams instead of 24 in the last edition in 2019.

Infantino also plans to introduce a new, expanded Club World Cup that will take place every four years from 2025 and feature 32 teams.

“We need more, not less, global competitions,” he told delegates at the 73rd FIFA Congress.

Infantino also posted forecast revenue of $11 billion in the four years to 2026, compared with $7.5 billion in the last four-year cycle ending in 2022.

But he said the figure did not include revenue from the Club World Cup, suggesting the final amount of money raised would be even higher.

These improved financial results allow FIFA to increase the amount of money it provides in subsidies to federations, many of whom in turn continue to support Infantino.

To make soccer “truly global,” as Infantino calls it, FIFA will spread the money evenly while Europe’s leading clubs can amass talent and wealth.

Thus, countries such as Trinidad and Tobago and Papua New Guinea receive the same amount as Brazil, and each has one vote in Congress.

If the FIFA president has 35 Central American countries, including many Caribbean islands, or 54 African federations on his side, he doesn’t have to worry about upsetting the powerhouses of Europe.

So the failed plans for the biennial World Cup or the decision to ban rainbow-themed “One Love” armbands promoting LGBTQ rights at the World Cup in Qatar have not stopped Infantino from eyeing a new term.

However, as long as Infantino’s expansion plans continue, football’s fractures show no sign of healing.

For example, the World League Forum, which brings together 44 leagues around the world, complained that FIFA had not consulted them before announcing plans for a new Club World Cup that would fit into an “already overloaded” calendar.

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