Paris: Gianni Infantino said on Wednesday that he had turned FIFA into an "synonym for credibility" organization, since he was re-elected for a second term as president of the world football governing body.
It was a formality that the 49-year-old would be forwarded for a new four-year mandate, until 2023, when he stood unhindered at the FIFA Congress in Paris.
The FIFA Council chose to support his re-election by acclamation, with Infantino now hoping to build on the work he started in February 2016, when he was voted to become the disgraced Sepp Blatter to head the organization.
Because he plans to "open" and "globalize" the game, he will now continue with already approved plans to expand the Club World Cup to 24 teams, and with his ambition to expand the World Cup itself to 48 teams.
Addressing the 211 members of the congress in the French capital, where the women's world cup starts on Friday, Infantino claimed the honor of the 2018 men's world championship in Russia, the "transparent" bidding process for the 2026 North America tournament , and the introduction of Video Assistant referees in the game.
He said he now headed "a new FIFA, an organization synonymous with credibility, trust, integrity."
"Today nobody talks about crises, nobody talks about rebuilding FIFA, nobody talks about scandals, nobody talks about corruption." We are talking about football, "the Swiss-Italian lawyer, formerly Secretary General of the European governing body UEFA, insisted.
"The least we can say is that we have changed the situation.
NO LONGER & # 39; TOXIC & # 39;
"In three years and four months this organization went from toxic, almost criminal, to what it should be, an organization that develops football, an organization that cares about football."
Infantino has overseen a significant increase in FIFA's income, with an increase in cash reserves to a record amount of $ 2.75 billion over its first term. FIFA recorded record revenue for the three years until 2018, of $ 6.4 billion.
"Today, FIFA also has the most solid financial situation ever and comes from the period of the worst crisis," he said.
FIFA has had very controversial plans to expand the World Championship from 32 teams to 48 in time for the next tournament in Qatar in 2022.
CLUB WORLD CUP PLANS
The radical change in the tournament will now have to wait until 2026, but Infantino already has the green light for a flagship 24-team Club World Cup from 2021.
The existing format includes only seven clubs. A location for the competition with a new appearance has yet to be found.
"My philosophy as FIFA president is one of openness, and as long as I am FIFA president, I will do everything to have more global global competitions, opportunities, openness for everyone to play," he said.
He stated his ambition to generate a huge $ 50 billion in revenue from the sale of the commercial rights for the new competition that European clubs are against.
"In terms of commercialization, I hope to reach 50 billion, not 25. I am not sure if we will get them, but I hope so," said Infantino, although he did not mention how many editions that would cover.
Infantino previously worked closely with Michel Platini, but the suspended ex-head of UEFA this week attacked FIFA chief, said he had "no legitimacy" and accused him of mocking women's football.
However, Infantino pointed to the appointment of Senegal & Fatma Samoura as Secretary General and to the fact that women now make up 20 percent of all involved in FIFA commissions while defending his work in that area.
"It's only 20 percent, but before it was four percent. We need to get better, we will be, but we start, we go, we progress," he said.
"At the Women & # 39; s World Cup in France this year we will have the explosion of women's football," he added.
That tournament starts on Friday when host country France plays South Korea in Paris and runs until July 7.
The next FIFA congress will be held next May in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
(tagsToTranslate) fifa president (t) gianni infantino