By Afolake Oyinloye and Agencies
FIFA president Gianni Infantino was re-elected to lead a richer-than-ever soccer body with an ambition to add new and bigger competitions despite growing wariness of him in Europe.
FIFA’s wealth after the World Cup in Qatar – $4 billion in reserves to be shared among the 211 member federations and lots more to come from the expanded 104-game edition in 2026 in North America – is a big reason why Infantino has no opponent on Thursday in Rwanda for four more years in office.
“All those who love me, that I know there are so many. And those who hate me, I know there are a few. I love you all. Of course, today especially,” said Infantino.
The 52-year-old, who was re-elected by delegates from the 211 member federations in 2019, could remain at the helm of world football until 2031 as his first three-year tenure is considered incomplete.
The Valaisan can boast a solid financial record, with an 18% increase in income and 45% increase in reserves over the 2019-22 cycle compared to the previous one, which has allowed Fifa to further increase its subsidies to confederations and federations.
In terms of governance, his last mandate was marked by a vast reform of transfers, the introduction of maternity leave for professional women players and more protective rules of disciplinary procedure for victims of sexual violence.
The main projects for the next few years have already been approved, starting with the expansion of the men’s World Cup from 32 to 48 teams from the 2026 edition, shared between the United States, Canada and Mexico.