KIGALI - Gianni Infantino will serve a second term as FIFA President after being re-elected unopposed to lead global football’s governing body for another four years, during the 73rd FIFA Congress in Kigali, Rwanda. Speaking immediately after the re-election to serve from 2023 to 2027, President Infantino said: “Being FIFA President is an incredible honourand privilege, and it is also a great responsibility. I am truly humbled and touched by your support, and I promise you that I will continue serving FIFA, serving football all over the world and serving all 211 FIFA member associations.”
For the first time in its history, an elective FIFA Congress took place in Africa. The proceedings were opened by His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda. In his address, President Kagame welcomed delegates from the 208 gathered member associations to his country, and congratulated President Infantino on his impending re-election.
The FIFA Chief stressed FIFA’s role to organise competitions and to develop football. He revealed that the 32-team FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand later this year will receive an extensive increase in prize money to over USD150million – more than three times the value from the last tournament in 2019, and ten times more than in 2015. Infantino also referenced impending changes to the FIFA U-17 World Cups at boys’ and girls’ level, which will see those tournaments played on an annual basis, as well as the launch of the FIFA World Series and the revised 32-team FIFA Club World Cup, with the intention of giving teams from every confederation more opportunities to compete on the global stage.
For the next financial cycle, the commitment of USD 11 billion in revenue over the next four years was stated, which represents a substantial increase on the initial target of USD 6.4 billion from the previous cycle, and an increase on the USD 7.5 billion in revenue which was eventually reported. FIFA’s commitment to future generations was also mentioned – either on the pitch through the FIFA Talent Development Scheme or off it via football-related gaming – while the President assured that FIFA would maintain its position as a leading global force in ensuring the power of football is used to effect positive social change. The consolidated financial statements for 2022, the FIFA statutory financial statements for 2022, the 2023-2026 budget, the 2024 detailed budget and the appointment of the auditors for 2023-2025 were also approved.
The date of the next Congress is May 17, 2024, the venue of which is yet to be confirmed. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe were suspended from voting during FIFA elections. Out of the 211 associations, 199 member associations voted in favour of a motion to suspend Zimbabwe while 197 voted for the motion restricting Sri Lanka from voting during FIFA elections. In January, FIFA suspended the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) over political interference after the federation’s presidential elections fell short of Zurich’s standards. In 2022, FIFA suspended Zimbabwe’s membership over govt interference in the countries’ football associations. Zimbabwe’s football association denied the allegations. It is worth mentioning here that, FIFA fully follows its Statues and set rules, and when it feels any interference from govt of any association, it immediately suspends it.