Gianni Infantino put his right hand on his heart and enjoyed the applause. In the BK Arena in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, he had just been confirmed as FIFA President at the World Football Association Congress. “All who love me, and there are many, and all who hate me, I know there are a few – I love you all”, said the Swiss, remaining true to himself with the exaggeration. FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura pathetically replied: “We love you, President.”
The Rwanda convention was the expected Infantino show. The FIFA President indirectly hinted at a lifelong commitment – a nightmare scenario for many European associations, a dream for the many small associations that FIFA feeds with the full cornucopia. FIFA will earn more than 10.4 billion euros by 2026. The new Club World Cup could “a few billion” more, especially at the next World Cup in three years’ time in the USA, Canada and Mexico, when there will be 48 teams for the first time in 104 instead of the previous 64 games.
“FIFA’s money is your money”
“FIFA’s money is your money”, said the 52-year-old. He knows how to make perfect use of the electoral system, in which every association, no matter how small, has one vote. Infantino used his closing speech to announce that World Cup bonuses in women’s football would be aligned with those of men by 2027.
Since the first three and a half years, when he succeeded the suspended compatriot Joseph Blatter, are not counted, Infantino can be re-elected for four years in 2027. Infantino: “If an entrepreneur announced that dividends would be increased by a factor of seven, they would be kept forever, then it would not just be a question of a four-year mandate.” He has the support of more than 200 associations worldwide, “also from Europe”. That’s why he wasn’t elected at all, Infantino was confirmed by applause.
ÖFB voted for Infantino
ÖFB interim president Johann Gartner had voted for him, the associations of Germany, Norway and Sweden had announced that they would not vote for Infantino. A number of affairs and inconsistencies cloud his image. In Switzerland, two special prosecutors are investigating a judicial affair against Infantino. The 2022 World Cup in Qatar was accompanied by human rights violations. As “a bit tiring” Infantino described the critical reporting. “We don’t steal, we don’t profit. FIFA is about football, not money.” Does he believe that himself?