– Photo: Social Media
Gianni Infantino has been re-elected as the President of FIFA until 2027. No one stood against him in the election. Infantino, who succeeded Sepp Blatter in 2016, was elected to the post for a third consecutive term by the representatives of the 211 member federations. Most of you love me, while some hate me, Infantino told delegates in the Rwandan capital. I love you all.
According to FIFA rules, no person can be elected president for more than three consecutive terms. However, this rule applies only if he has completed all the three terms. In such a situation, Infantino has already made preparations to stay in this post till 2031. In December his first three years did not count as a full term.
Infantino defended Qatar’s hosting of last year’s World Cup. Qatar was at loggerheads over migrant workers, women and the LGBTQ community, but his tenure oversaw the expansion of the men’s and women’s World Cups and huge increases in FIFA revenue.
President of the Norwegian Football Federation, Lise Klavenes, said she would not support Infantino and introduced a motion to discuss “FIFA’s responsibilities to address human rights abuses” in relation to the Qatar World Cup and future tournaments. . Norwegian and Swedish delegates in Kigali showed their opposition to Infantino’s re-election by not joining the delegates in applauding.
The president of the German FA, Bernd Neuendorff, stated that he would not support Infantino, citing a lack of transparency from FIFA and insufficient explanation of “why certain decisions are made and who was involved in them”.
Infantino himself hit out at the media for criticizing him and world football’s governing body, saying: “I don’t understand why some of you are so mean. Today I am honored to have received more than 200 letters of support and a standing ovation.” I have since been re-elected, so the overwhelming majority have a feeling that I am doing a very good job, including in Europe.”
Infantino said the 2026 World Cup would be with 48 teams. FIFA announced on Tuesday that the tournament in North America will feature 104 matches, which is a lot more than the 64 matches of the most recent World Cup. It will start with 12 groups of four teams each.
The upcoming Women’s World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand later this year will feature 32 teams. While the previous edition in 2019 had 24 teams. The total prize money for the participating teams will also increase to $150 million, up from $50 million in 2019 and $15 million in 2015.