Infantino also rules FIFA as an enlightened monarch, according to the principles of divide and rule

Infantino also rules FIFA as an enlightened monarch, according to the principles of divide and rule

Gianni Infantino, FIFA President.ANP/EPA image

In the four-part documentary series FIFA revealed (2022) by British director Daniel Gordon, which can be seen on Netflix Former Fifa media director Guido Tognoni was asked if he thought corruption at FIFA was likely to be let loose. He thinks for a moment, then says, “If you ask that, you also have to wonder if the world will turn away from corruption. The answer is no.”

FIFA revealed It gives little hope that Tognoni will be proven wrong, even under Gianni Infantino. In 2016, he succeeded outgoing President Joseph S. Blatter. Over the course of his seventeen-year reign, Blatter transformed the FIFA into a smoothly functioning financial machine much like a criminal organization.

In fact, Michel Platini, the president of UEFA, was to succeed Blatter in 2016. Until it became known that the former French footballer had illegally accepted 2 million Swiss francs from Blatter and was suspended for four years.

Strategy and persuasion

After that, Gianni Infantino, the general secretary of UEFA, became the European candidate for the highest position in football. After a global campaign, he was surprisingly elected in February 2016 at the expense of Sheikh Salman of Bahrain. That said something about Infantino’s sense of strategy and persuasion: Sheikh Salman was the pre-favorite.

“We will restore the respect of FIFA. We are building a new FIFA,” Infantino promised in his acceptance speech.

Gianni Vincenzo Infantino is the son of Italian guest workers in Switzerland, born in Brig in 1970, studied law in Friborg and joined UEFA in 2000. His wife is Lebanese, and Infantino speaks Italian, Spanish, French, German, English, Portuguese and Arabic fluently.

FIFA rewards Infantino well: he earns more than one and a half million euros a year, plus bonuses: a car and an apartment. In 2016, he introduced the chairman’s term limit of twelve years, meaning he could remain in the position until 2028.

far-reaching proposals

After taking office in 2016, the Swiss immediately came up with two far-reaching proposals: increasing the number of countries in the final round of the World Cup from 32 to 48 and shortening the World Cup cycle from four to two years. It took a bit of effort to get the first idea through: Member nations in Africa, Oceania and Asia have all seen their chances of participating in the World Cup increase.

His second idea was more complex, it met with great resistance, particularly from UEFA and South American Football Confederation CONMEBOL. They saw the income from their country’s leagues at risk.

However, Infantino is stubborn and regularly revives the plan. He knows that the vote in FIFA is in his favour, and that with a World Cup every two years, FIFA and itself are doing a favor: billions in extra income and support from footballing nations outside of Europe and South America.

The first doubts about Infantino’s true intentions arose in November 2018, when he laid out a plan for two major competitions, the 24-stage FIFA Club World Cup and a global version of the Nations League, at the FIFA Council – the highest body within the country. organisation. Chinese, American and Saudi investors have guaranteed FIFA $25 billion in a 12-year deal in exchange for a 50% stake in the joint venture to be formed with FIFA which owns the tournaments.

To flog big money

The fact that Infantino was willing to sell the rights to major tournaments for big money was not appreciated by everyone. But Infantino once again knows that outside of football’s old strongholds in Europe and South America, there are many countries backing the plans.

The plan to allocate the World Cup to regions instead of countries from now on also comes from his sleeve. This resulted in Canada, the United States and Mexico as host countries for the 2026 World Cup. It is not yet known where the 2030 World Cup will be held, but the choice will in any case reveal a lot about FIFA’s ethic and learning ability under Infantino: the unlikely trio of Egypt, Greece and Saudi Arabia is one of the favourites. .

Has FIFA become a different organization under Infantino?

In November 2021 it turned out that he owns an apartment in Qatar, but this is not prohibited. He has previously been accused of defending Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain against the Financial Fair Play rules he set for himself. His name appeared in the Panama Papers and it turned out that he had a generous maintenance account. Last year, Michel Platini sued him for alleged conspiracy around the 2016 presidential election.

small beer

Compared to the practices of its predecessor and clique, this is still a young beer for the time being.

Sepp Blatter was a paranoid administrator who saw himself awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Infantino exhibits symptoms of the same disease. He sees football as a way to stop African exodus and last week called at the G20 for a ceasefire in Ukraine during the World Cup. It indicates a curious view of reality, which also explains Infantino’s blind spot in the controversy surrounding the 2022 World Cup.

The problem is that Gianni Infantino leads the largest, richest and most powerful sports federation on earth and is therefore the backbone of a billion-dollar ball. Despite his promise to make FIFA more transparent and democratic, he still rules like an enlightened king on the principles of divide and rule.

This makes him both vulnerable and also strong: whoever has an infantino in his pocket owns football.

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