Sports Desk, Mar 16 (EFE).- Gianni Infantino was re-elected as Fifa president on Thursday for four more years after a vote at the 73rd Fifa Congress in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, where he ran unopposed.
During his speech, he highlighted the organization’s “achievements” of the past four years, including the 2022 World Cup in Qatar – “the best World Cup ever”, he said – where Fifa had had “taken on board its responsibility to deal with human rights matters and to deal with the legacy of this World Cup, the first in the Middle East.”
He also lauded Fifa’s Covid relief plan which provided billions of dollars to keeping grassroots football “alive” during and after the pandemic.
Looking to the next four years of his mandate, Infantino said “we want to unite, to include and we want to make football truly global.”
To that end, Fifa confirmed this week that the 2026 World Cup in North America would feature 48 teams – meaning an additional 40 matches – as well as a new and expanded Club World Cup, featuring 32 teams instead of just four.
“When I hear there is too much football, yes, maybe in some places, but not everywhere,” Infantino said.
“In fact, in most parts of the world there is not enough football played. We need way more and not less competitions, we want football to develop worldwide,” he said.
The plans have been roundly criticized, with Spain’s LaLiga accusing Fifa of continuing “its malpractice of making unilateral decisions on the world football calendar, showing complete disregard for the importance of national championships, and the football community in general.
“Leagues were not consulted about any of the changes,” the statement continued, “especially about the new annual club competition, of which we were completely unaware, and which seriously affects our competitions.
“These decisions do not take into account the competitive, sporting and economic impact on national leagues, clubs and players, by further cramming an already overloaded schedule.”
Born in Brig, Switzerland, the former Uefa general secretary has been at the helm of Fifa since 2015, after a corruption scandal took down Infantino’s predecessor Sepp Blatter, who had been in charge for 18 years.
When his current mandate ends, Infantino will be eligible for a third and final four-year term, meaning he is likely to remain president until 2031. EFE