Gianni Infantino re-elected unopposed as FIFA President
The Swiss–Italian Gianni Infantino was the sole candidate in the running at the FIFA Congress in Paris, and will now remain in place for the 2022 World Cup.
Having run unopposed, Gianni Infantino will continue as FIFA president until 2023. This will be a second term for Infantino as president of football’s international governing body FIFA as was approved by acclamation at the FIFA Congress in Paris on Wednesday.
Before his presidency, Infantino was the UEFA as the Director of UEFA’s Legal Affairs and Club Licensing Division, he became Deputy General Secretary before becoming the Secretary-General in October 2009. During his time there, UEFA improved commercial support to smaller national associations and introduced Financial Fair Play.
The 49-year-old was first elected president in February 2016, succeeding Sepp Blatter who was ousted amidst corruption investigations.
As president, Infantino has overseen the expansion of the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams beginning in 2026. He was also responsible for the redevelopment of the Club World Cup, which is set to grow to 24 teams in 2021.
This year, there was no need for a vote to take place amongst FIFA’s 211 member federations in Paris because Infantino was the only candidate.
Ahead of his re-election as FIFA president on Wednesday, Infantino said he has banished scandals and corruption from FIFA despite losing members of his council for misconduct.
“For those who love me, for those who hate me, I love everyone today,” Infantino said. “I am very humbled by your trust.”
He added: “Remember the state of FIFA at that congress.
“Well, the last three years and four months have certainly not been perfect. I have made mistakes certainly and I try to improve and do this better but today on an election day nobody talks about crisis. Nobody talks about rebuilding FIFA from scratch. Nobody talks about scandals. Nobody talks about corruption.”
Infantino’s re-election only came hours after another turn in the escalating row between French President Emmanuel Macron and UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin, who condemned Macron’s public criticism of proposed changes to the UEFA Champions League. These changes include the automatic qualification of the top 24 of 32 competing clubs for the following season’s competition.
FIFA has long opposed political intrusion into its affairs, leading French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet to smooth over relations with UEFA president Ceferin.
“No decision in France is taken without general assemblies,” Le Graet said.
“France’s voice should always be heard through our general assemblies. There shouldn’t be interference from anyone else, regardless of who this is.
“So I would also like to thank UEFA for its trust and UEFA can count on France to be disciplined in the best way possible.
“We can talk face to face about things we are less happy with, or happy with, and we can talk with you very honestly, and we appreciate the trust that has been put in us.”
The Women’s World Cup gets underway in France on Friday, where Egypt has failed to qualify, while the USA is looking to defend its crown.