Gianni Infantino Re-elected as FIFA President Until 2027
On Thursday, Gianni Infantino, the 52-year-old Swiss lawyer, was re-elected as the president of FIFA until 2027. He stood unopposed during the congress of the world football’s governing body, and he was elected for the third term by acclamation, just like four years ago, by delegates from the 211 member federations.
Infantino succeeded Sepp Blatter in 2016 and has overseen the expansion of men’s and women’s World Cup and significant increases in FIFA revenues. Infantino staunchly defended Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup despite criticism over the Gulf state’s treatment of migrant workers, women, and the LGBTQ community.
Infantino’s opponents were not able to put forward a candidate to stand against him, and even though Norwegian Football Federation president Lise Klaveness did not support Infantino, her proposal to discuss “FIFA’s responsibilities to remedy human rights abuses” in relation to the Qatar World Cup and future tournaments failed to gain traction.
Infantino declared that the 2026 World Cup, the first edition to be enlarged to 48 teams, would be “the most inclusive World Cup ever,” featuring 104 matches compared to the 64 in the most recent World Cup. FIFA announced on Tuesday that the tournament in North America would start with 12 groups of four teams.
The upcoming women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand later this year will also feature 32 teams, up from 24 in the last edition in 2019. Infantino plans to introduce a new, expanded Club World Cup to be played every four years starting in 2025, featuring 32 teams.
Infantino projected an income of $11 billion in the four years up to 2026, compared to $7.5 billion in the last four-year cycle ending in 2022, with increased subsidies to federations.
In order to make football “truly global,” FIFA distributes money evenly, with each country receiving the same amount, regardless of their size or status in the sport. Infantino will continue to rely on the support of the 35 Central American nations and 54 African federations to maintain his position.
Despite the financial success, Infantino’s expansion plans have been criticized, with the World Leagues Forum, which includes 44 leagues worldwide, complaining that FIFA did not consult with them before announcing plans for the new Club World Cup, which they believe will add to an already overloaded calendar.
Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.