Gianni Infantino has been re-elected as the president of football’s world governing body FIFA for the next four years.
The 49-year old Swiss-Italian was re-elected without opposition at the 69th Fifa’s annual congress in Paris. He succeeded Sepp Blatter in 2016, who was in charge for 17 years until he was banned amid a corruption scandal in 2015.
The ninth president in the history of the organisation was first elected at an Extraordinary Congress in February 2016 and now starts his first full four-year term of office after running unopposed and being elected by acclamation by FIFA’s 211 member associations.
“In just over three years, this organisation went from being toxic, almost criminal, to being what it should be: an institution that develops football,” said Infantino when addressing the Congress. “This new FIFA has a mission and a plan for it, which is why the next four years have, in fact, already started: we have laid solid building blocks for the future.”
FIFA’s supreme legislative body approved the Activity Report and financial statements for 2018, as well as the detailed budget for 2020, which includes USD 810 million allocated to investments in football.
Infantino claimed 11 areas of progress during his tenure, from financial health, women’s development, the fight against racism and a scandal-free 2026 World Cup bidding process. However, he said the implementation of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system had been his major triumph.
He also used the opportunity to promote the new-look 24-team Club World Cup, which starts in two years’ time but is under threat of a boycott from Europe’s top clubs due to concerns over fixture congestion.
The 70th FIFA Congress will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in May 2020.