Gianni Infantino won reelection as FIFA president on Thursday in Rwanda. The news is not much of a surprise, as the 52-year-old Swiss soccer official ran unopposed. He will now remain at the helm of the world’s governing body of the sport until 2027.
In the reelection speech from Infantino, the FIFA boss bizarrely compared his fight to become president in 2016 to how the Rwandan people recovered from the 1994 genocide. Infantino also referenced record revenues by FIFA during his tenure and even mentioned people who ‘hate’ him.
“It is an incredible honor and privilege, and a great responsibility,” said Infantino. “I promise to continue serving FIFA and football around the world. To those that love me, and I know there are many, and those who hate me… I love you all.”
“Revenues rose to a record $7.5 billion [in 2022] in a period that was hit by COVID-19. When I arrived, FIFA reserves stood at around $1 billion, today they are at almost $4 billion,” Infantino proclaimed.
“We promise new record revenues for the next cycle of $11 billion and the new Club World Cup is not included in that figure, so it could increase by a couple of billion [more].”
Even more soccer matches possible for schedule
Speaking on the topic of revenue, Infantino also fought back against claims that there are too many matches worldwide. Many players and player unions are against expanded international and club tournaments. Nevertheless, FIFA, under Infantino, wants more matches.
“When I hear there is too much football, yes, maybe in some places, but not everywhere,” stated Infantino.
“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. We are discussing organizing a women’s Club World Cup and a FIFA World Series in March every two years, when teams are free from playing qualifiers.”
Infantino in FIFA reelection speech: Salary cap may be ‘necessary’
The reelected FIFA president even suggested that a salary cap is possible in the sport. “We will continue to evolve our good governance principles and look at the transfer system and maybe have a discussion to improve transparency of transfer fees and salaries,” continued Infantino.
“It might be necessary to introduce a cap. We have to think how we can do that. We will look at it with all stakeholders and see what we can do.”
Most American sports currently have a salary cap in top flight leagues. This regulates how much each teams can spend on player wages. Perhaps Infantino is looking to the United States as inspiration, while he vows to grow the game in the country.
PHOTO: IMAGO / ANP
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