FIFA - Infantino is a candidate for re-election as head of FIFA

FIFA – Infantino is a candidate for re-election as head of FIFA

Gianni Infantino has positioned himself as a unifier in front of a divided football planet. The President of Fifa announced Thursday, in Doha, to seek re-election in 2023, while backing down on the inflammable biennial World Cup project and pleading the “progressof Qatar on human rights in view of the 2022 World Cup.

Fifa has never offered a biennial World Cup

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Taking advantage of the body’s annual congress, on the eve of Friday’s draw for the World Cup in Qatar (November 21-December 18), the Italian-Swiss leader tried to defuse several hot topics, starting with the proposal aimed at increasing the frequency of football’s premier event from four to two years.

Arsene Wenger and Gianni Infantino

Credit: Getty Images

Fifa has never offered a biennial World Cup“but only studied his”feasibility“, nuanced Infantino, who had however defended this idea for a long time in recent months. But the front of the refusal, ranging from Europe (UEFA) to South America (Conmebol) via associations of clubs or supporters , has apparently pushed the boss of Fifa to now call the “compromise” on the reform of the international calendar by 2024.

“Is it imaginable to go to the World Cup without Giroud but with Ben Yedder and Nkunku?”

Towards a new mandate?

The leading polyglot, in office since 2016, closed this 72nd Congress, formalizing his candidacy in 2023 for a third and final four-year term to applause. Elected in 2016 with the promise of “restore the image of Fifa“Stuck in a global corruption scandal, Infantino has no declared major opponent for the time being.

The leader, targeted since July 2020 by criminal proceedings for having secretly met the head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Swiss Confederation, has his economic record on his side. Fifa predicts record turnover of 7 billion dollars (6.3 billion euros) over the four-year cycle ending in 2022, more than expected, thanks to the next World Cup .

Infantino has been at the heart of criminal proceedings since 2020.

Credit: Getty Images

And, for him, this is not the time for divisive proposals. Even if the reform of the men’s and women’s international calendar remains a pressing issue, FIFA did not include it on the agenda of its Congress. Infantino only mentioned on Thursday that the Club World Cup, which Fifa once wanted to expand to 24 clubs (against 8 today), would be part of the discussions. Some are talking about a return to the Confederations Cup, a mini-tournament with eight selections played between 1992 and 2019, or an expansion to American teams in the League of Nations, created in 2018 by UEFA.

Qatar is “exemplary” according to Infantino

Eight months before the 2022 World Cup, the boss of Fifa also faced controversy over the rights of women and LGBT people, or controversies over the status of migrant workers employed on construction sites in Qatar…”Injured migrant workers or families of those who died in the build-up to the World Cup must be taken into account“, castigated Lise Klaveness, president of the Norwegian federation, during an offensive and noticed speech.

Infantino responded by assuring that the work done by Doha on this subject was “copy“.”Of course not everything is perfect, of course it’s not paradise, but no country is paradise“, he estimated. The emirate abolished from 2016 the “kafala”, a system of sponsorship making employees quasi-properties of their employer, and introduced in 2020 a minimum hourly wage (from 1.30 dollars more than enough for Infantino.

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