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Gianni Infantino: Fifa president says 'way more' football is needed after re-election

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Greed is Good!



Fifa president Gianni Infantino says there is a need for "way more" football after being re-elected until 2027.

World football's governing body has this week announced an expanded 2026 World Cup and unveiled a new 32-team Club World Cup.

But the expansion of the football calendar has been criticised by player unions and La Liga.

"When I hear there is too much football, yes, maybe in some places, but not everywhere," said 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 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 2026 World Cup, which will be held in the United States, Mexico and Canada, will see the number of teams increase from 32 to 48.

The tournament will have 104 matches rather than a projected 80, after Fifa changed a proposed format of 16 three-team groups to 12 groups of four.

There will also be a new last-32 round and countries will have to play eight matches to win the tournament, compared to seven at the 2022 World Cup.

The 32-team Club World Cup will take place every four years from June 2025.

Players union Fifpro and the Professional Footballers' Association have raised concerns about the demands on players, while La Liga said Fifa's plans showed a "complete disregard" for the football community.

'It might be necessary to introduce a salary cap'

Infantino, who was re-elected at the 73rd Fifa Congress in Kigali, Rwanda on Thursday, also discussed the possibility of bringing a salary cap into football.

"We must improve our regulations and the Fifa statutes," he said.

"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.

"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."

Speaking about the women's game in his closing remarks, Infantino also said the total prize money for the 2023 Women's World Cup will be $150m (£124.3m) compared to $15m (£12.4m) in 2015.

Last year's men's World Cup in Qatar had a total prize fund of $440m (£364.7m).

"Our mission will be able to have equality in payments for 2026 men's and 2027 women's World Cups," Infantino said.

The 52-year-old succeeded Sepp Blatter as Fifa president in 2016, retaining the role in 2019 and has been re-elected unopposed for another four-year term.

During Infantino's time in charge, Fifa has looked into staging the World Cup every two years in a concept that has faced criticism from federations, leagues and players.

There was also controversy at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar when the build up to the tournament was dominated by the country's treatment of migrant workers, along with its stance on same-sex relationships and its human rights record.

A number of European nations planned to wear a OneLove armband during matches to promote diversity and inclusion but did not do so because of possible sanctions from Fifa.

"It is an incredible honour and privilege, and a great responsibility," said Infantino following his re-election.

"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."

Time to 'walk the walk' on human rights

The congress also included a video address by Michael Llamas, chairperson of the Fifa sub-committee on human rights and social responsibility, who said Fifa was committed to assessing the human rights legacy of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Human rights organisations claimed thousands of migrant workers had died in Qatar since the country was awarded the World Cup but Qatari authorities denied this, and stressed the country was making labour reforms.

Lisa Klaveness, the head of the Norwegian Football Association, who led the calls for Fifa to address the issue, welcomed the pledge as a first step in the process.

"The most important thing with Mr Llamas' statement today was that he did not put human rights up against football, he did not say 'we are not the Red Cross'," Klaveness told BBC Sport.

"He established human rights as something fundamental that should be embedded in everything we do. Of course then you have to walk the walk but it was very important that he talked the talk today."

Human rights organisation Amnesty International welcomed Fifa's pledge but said workers had "already waited far too long for justice".

"Any review must focus on exactly how Fifa will ensure that workers and their families are compensated for the abuses they suffered — including illegal recruitment fees that have been paid, wages that were stolen and lives that have been lost — rather than whether they intend to do so at all," said Amnesty International's head of economic and social justice Steve Cockburn.

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The more nonsense like this I hear and read the less top flight football I watch. Already cancelled BT Sports and Now Tv subscriptions. The next World Cup wont be worth watching until the second knock out phase as the usual suspects will stroll through the groups and the first knock out round will be heavily seeded in favour of the big teams. 

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19 minutes ago, Northern Red said:

The players and managers certainly don't want more football.

Not here or the big European leagues, certainly. 

But the way FIFA elections are organised with the power in Europe being worth no more than any other continent it’s far easier to please those countries with the promise of money and influence than the already wealthy. Which is why FIFA have become little more than a front to generate as much income as possible, since that, in my opinion, is what the majority of FAs around the world actually want and why Infantino has made very little change to what was happening under Blatter.

Integrity and Human Rights be damned. Money is what matters and part of that is getting the big European clubs and the big international teams to play more in FIFAs primary tournaments.

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