Gianni Infantino re-elected as FIFA president

Gianni Infantino re-elected as FIFA president

Gianni Infantino will be president of the International Football Federation (FIFA) for at least the next four years. The 52-year-old Swiss was re-elected on Thursday at the 73rd FIFA Congress in the Rwandan capital Kigali.

FIFA manager since 2016, Infantino was the only candidate and was elected by acclamation by 211 representatives of the national associations. The Swiss has promised record revenues for the organization in the next four-year cycle of $11 billion.

His actions, however, are not to everyone’s liking, the member federations were most divided by the idea of ​​holding the World Cup every two years, and not every four, as before. The South American and European confederations would even consider boycotting the tournament if Infantino’s plan went into effect.

Infantino did not stand by his plan at any cost, which made his re-election as head of football’s governing body a mere formality.

“It is an incredible honor and privilege and a great responsibility. I promise to continue to serve FIFA and football around the world. To those who love me, and I know there are many, and to those who hate me… I love you all,” Infantino said.

The activist confirmed that FIFA revenues reached a record level in the last cycle, i.e. in 2019-22, but promised to raise them again thanks to the new, significantly expanded formula of men’s and women’s World Cup tournaments and the introduction of a 32-team World Club Championship.

“Revenue grew to a record $7.5 billion (through 2022) during the COVID-19-hit period. When I came in, FIFA’s reserves were around $1 billion, today they are almost $4 billion,” Infantino added.

“We are promising new record revenues in the next cycle of $11 billion, and the new Club World Cup is not included in this figure, so it could increase by several billion,” he explained.

Infantino said FIFA would continue to review the transfer system to “improve transparency” and suggested the organization could discuss the issue of a salary cap.

“We need to improve our regulations and FIFA statutes. We will continue to develop our Good Governance Principles and look at the transfer system and perhaps hold a discussion to improve the transparency of transfer fees and remuneration. It may be necessary to introduce a limit,” he told members of Congress.

A few days ago, FIFA decided that the 2026 World Cup will be held in the format of 104 matches instead of the previous 64. The change is dictated by the increase in the number of participating teams to 48.

Infantino became the head of FIFA for the first time at the Extraordinary Congress in 2016 after the resignation of his predecessor Sepp Blatter. The Swiss was re-elected for another term on June 5, 2019. At that time, he had no opponents, so no vote was held, and the delegates of 211 FIFA-affiliated federations supported him by acclamation.

However, this counts as his second term, so he will be eligible for a third and final term in four years.

Infantino is the ninth president of FIFA. Previously, he was known to fans from the draw ceremonies of various football events in Europe. He also showed a sense of humor and knowledge of foreign languages. He is a lawyer by education. He speaks English, French, German, Spanish and Italian fluently. He is married and has four children. ((PAP)


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