Alternating between English, French, German and Spanish, Gianni Infantino, gave a speech that served to justify in words the decision of the 211 deputies who voted for his continuity at the helm of FIFA. He congratulated them in four languages for their votes, which were not secret but by acclamation. Unlike his first election in 2016, when he defeated the Sheikh of Bahrain in the second round Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa with 115 against 88, in the Congress held this Thursday in Kigali, Rwanda, there were no votes against,
This triumph is not counted for the three periods with which FIFA limits presidencies to the same president, since suffrage was held on that occasion to complete what had begun Joseph Blatter in June 2015, before the so-called FIFA Gate exploded and almost a year after the Swiss was ousted from office. In subsequent elections, such as Thursday, he was unopposed. Technically, therefore, the one that ends in 2027 will be his second term.
“Many of you will remember that before being elected president of FIFA, each federation received $250,000 a year. Now they receive $2 million a year – that’s seven times as much in seven years. We multiply the investment by seven. If a CEO told stakeholders that products have grown sevenfold, I think they would keep that CEO forever. I like this story to continue, but I’m only here for a four-year cycle,” Infantino said with a hint of modesty, not mentioning that He can stand for new elections and, if he wins, govern until 2031.
If that happens, it will be 16 consecutive years. João Havelange He was in office for 24 years between 1974 and 1998 and Joseph Blatterits predecessor, held the 17th position between 1998 and 2015.
South American support for 2030?
The economic data offered by Infantino explain his re-election. Vows, however, are not individual nor do they respond to free will: support is always understood as mutual. There are blocks that share a common interest, such as the South American who works for the organization of the 2030 World Cup in the region, with Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile as guests.
“Certainly you, the Congress, will have the right and the duty to decide the guests of the future World Cups, both male and female”, he underlined in a passage of his speech and made an omniscient reference to the venue that will be chosen next year: South America, Europe or Asia, all to be developed in more than two countries. Of the 211 possible votes, none were against and perhaps not to feel compromised with world interests, Infantino has made it clear that it will not depend on him.
Conmebol, which has a strategic alliance with UEFA, supported Infantino. Just like the representatives of the European confederation, who are usually the rebels of the world football network. In fact, together they prevented another wish of Infantino: the World Cup every two years.
“We will organize the best men’s World Cup in history in 2026, because we have gone from 32 to 48 teams, and from 64 to 104 matches, but also because this will be the most inclusive World Cup in history, and we want to be, and we must be inclusive,” he said. stated.
For that World Cup, Infantino plans to multiply that income by $7.5 billion and reach 11 billion. “This is not Fifa’s money, it belongs to all of you, it belongs to football in general,” he said before explaining that in the 2025 edition of the new Club World Cup he hopes to add another 2,000 million to the coffers.
“Every dollar invested in projects and partnerships is independently verified. Money is no longer lost on its own. Not only sponsors have regained their trust in FIFA. The US Department of Justice, for example, has given us back more of 200 million dollars in last year, which was stolen by corrupt FIFA officials,” he distinguished.
In reviewing the last World Cup, Infantino underlined the audience – “We had five billion spectators worldwide and three million fans in stadiums,” he said – and the plurality of sports that brought five teams from different continents to the knockout stage.
“We organized the best World Cup in history. Congratulations to Argentina for winning this World Cup! Congratulations also to France, for coming so close to winning the trophy and mabrouk (congratulations) Morocco! the first African team in the semifinals”, celebrated Infantino.
“We also assume our responsibility to address human rights issues and address the legacy of this World Cup, the first in the Middle East: Shukran (gratitude) Qatar!” he said, referring to a topic that, previously, seemed be will occupy the debate in Congress.
The first to defend Qatar was the president of Rwanda paul kagamewho made the first mention of Qatar, calling the emirate’s detractors “hypocrites” and arguing that “bad politics” comes out of sport.
The Norwegian federation has tabled a proposal requiring FIFA to compensate migrant workers who have built Qatar’s infrastructure, but federation president Lise Klaveness did not address the plenary as expected.
Instead, the head of the human rights panel, Gibraltar leader Michael Llamas, said his group would assess Qatar’s progress on the matter and issue a report in full transparency.
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.