This Thursday, March 16, Gianni Infantino was re-elected until 2027 to the presidency of Fifa, which he has held since 2016, without competition and by acclamation during the 73rd Congress of the body in Kigali, Rwanda.
” I love you all »launched the boss of world football in front of the standing crowd, without the voting system having made it possible to count the dissenting votes.
The 52-year-old Italo-Swiss, already renewed under the same conditions in 2019 by the delegates of the 211 member federations, could remain at the head of world football until 2031, his first three-year lease being considered as incomplete. The Zurich organization’s bylaws normally provide for three terms of up to four years.
” Rmake football truly global »
Infantino again claimed this Thursday to want ” make football truly global »and stands as a bulwark against the sporting and economic hegemony of European football thanks to FIFA’s development programs, boosted by its growing revenues.
The president of the Norwegian Federation, Lise Klaveness, had however warned that she would not support Infantino, and brought to the agenda a discussion on the ” redress for human rights violations » linked to Fifa competitions, calling for a death toll on the construction sites of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and their compensation. The Europeans could not agree on a competing candidacy and the former man of confidence of Michel Platini at UEFA (2009-2016), elected unexpectedly at the head of Fifa in February 2016 after a cascade of scandals, was guaranteed to remain at the top of world football.
To his credit, Infantino can show a solid financial balance sheet, with an 18% increase in income and 45% increase in reserves over the 2019-22 cycle compared to the previous one, which allows Fifa to further increase its subsidies to confederations. and federations.
On the governance side, his last mandate was marked by a vast reform of transfers, by the institution of maternity leave for professional players as well as by more protective rules of disciplinary procedure for victims of sexual violence.
Explode ticketing revenue of the World Cup
The main projects for the next few years have already been approved : starting with the passage of the Men’s World Cup from 32 to 48 teams from the 2026 edition shared between the United States, Canada and Mexico, decided in 2017 and whose format was fixed on Tuesday February 14. By opting for a group stage with twelve groups of four teams, the tournament will jump from 64 to 104 matches, a behemoth cut to explode ticketing revenue and attract even more broadcasters.
More delicately, Fifa decided, on December 16, 2022, to expand its Club World Cup from an annual seven-team format to a quadrennial competition with 32 teams from the summer of 2025. A project that its boss is trying to succeed for years to compete in the lucrative UEFA Champions League, but which promises to be difficult to fit into the calendar.
This race for expansion could well awaken the fractures of football. On the eve of his re-election, the World Forum of Leagues, bringing together around forty championships, denounced decisions ” without consultation »which further weigh down ” an already overloaded calendar, and do not take into account the impact on the competitiveness of the domestic leagues and the health of the players ».
a tribune who willingly personalizes his speech
Secretary General of UEFA between 2009 and 2016 after having risen through the ranks, Infantino has turned into a tribune who gladly personalizes his speech, sweeping before the 2022 World Cup the criticism of human rights in Qatar talking about his childhood ” discriminated » of small Italian in the Swiss Valais.
To develop the round ball, this polyglot with a smooth skull, partially installed in Doha with his Lebanese wife and their five children, does not lack ideas. In a world of football with complex balances, between leagues, rich and poor federations, clubs, confederations, players and supporters, many criticize him for advancing in force. But his idea of a World Cup every two years, launched with fanfare in the fall of 2021, was buried the following spring in the face of the scale of the opposition.