Thursday 18 July, 2019

Infantino re-elected as FIFA president for second term

FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

Gianni Infantino will continue as FIFA president until 2023 after being re-elected unopposed.

A second term for the former UEFA secretary general was approved by acclamation at the FIFA Congress in Paris on Wednesday.

Infantino, who succeeded Sepp Blatter in February 2016, was the sole individual to successfully submit their candidature for the position prior to the February 5 deadline.

The 49-year-old has overseen the expansion of the World Cup from 32 to 48 nations from 2026 and the redevelopment of the Club World Cup, which is set to grow to 24 teams in 2021.

"All those who love me, all those who hate me, I love everyone today," an emotional Infantino said in address to the FIFA Congress.

"I am humbled by your trust and by your confidence, and I'm honoured to serve you and to serve FIFA."

Infantino's re-election came hours after another turn in the escalating row between French president Emmanuel Macron and UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin.

On Tuesday, Ceferin condemned Macron's public criticism of proposed changes to the Champions League, which would see the top 24 of 32 competing clubs automatically qualify for the following season's competition.

FIFA has long opposed political intrusion into its affairs, leading French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet to smooth over relations with UEFA president Ceferin.

"No decision in France is taken without general assemblies," Le Graet said.

"France's voice should always be heard through our general assemblies. There shouldn't be interference from anyone else, regardless of who this is.

"So I would also like to thank UEFA for its trust and UEFA can count on France to be disciplined in the best way possible.

"We can talk face to face about things we are less happy with, or happy with, and we can talk with you very honestly, and we appreciate the trust that has been put in us."

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: