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Gianni Infantino re-elected FIFA president, defends football calendar

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Gianni Infantino
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has been re-elected for a new term until 2027. | PHOTO: CNN |
  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino has been re-elected as FIFA president for a new term until 2027
  • The President will oversee the 2026 FIFA World Cup set to take place in North America
  • Speaking after his re-election, Infantino defended the new football calendar expansion including the new Club World Cup proposal

Re-elected FIFA president Gianni Infantino argued in favour of FIFA’s plans to expand the World Cup. The Italian also defended the new Club World Cup idea that there should be “way more” football.

Infantino ran uncontested and was re-elected FIFA president at the FIFA Congress on Thursday.

This week, FIFA announced that the 2026 World Cup will feature 48 countries. This will be an increase from the previous 32, divided into 12 groups of four. Additionally, a 32-team expanded Club World Cup was also announced.

READ: FIFA: 2026 World Cup to keep four-team group format

Speaking at the Congress in Rwanda, Infantino said: “When I hear there is too much football, yes, maybe in some places, but not everywhere. 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 organising a women’s Club World Cup and a FIFA World Series in March every two years when teams are free from playing qualifiers.”

The president’s closing comments included a reference to the English football schedule. Additionally, he spoke of the Super Cup competitions in Italian and Spanish football. He added that he thought there was less media criticism of other teams than of FIFA.

Gianni Infantino

FIFA president Gianni Infantino speaking during the FIFA congress after his re-election in Kigali, Rwanda on Thursday, March 16 2023. | PHOTO: Al Jazeera |

Gianni Infantino hits at journalists

Infantino also addressed earlier contentious remarks that he felt had been misrepresented. The remarks included one made during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The FIFA boss charged journalists with racism for criticizing the host nation of Qatar.

“I think I called racists those who were qualifying fans who had different skin colour of fans who were cheering European teams as not real fans, that’s when I used the word ‘racist’, and I stick to that,” he said.

In his opening comments on Thursday, he also seemed to draw a comparison between his persistence in pursuing the position of FIFA president and the genocide in Rwanda. However, when The Athletic’s Matt Slater brought up this idea during the closing press conference, he quickly shot it down.

“I find it really incredible that you can interpret what I say as making an association with one of the most terrible tragedies that happened with anything that happened in my life,” he said.

“I would never make a comparison between a tragedy and my life. What I want to say is that this country is so inspiring for so many people that when we come with our little problems, we should just be a bit more humble about things. That’s all that I said.”

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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