FIFA candidate Gianni Infantino has written to member associations to dismiss concerns that his plans to reform football are not financially viable.
Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, who is considered favourite alongside Infantino to win Friday’s presidential election, claimed this week that the UEFA general secretary’s proposal to increase cash payouts to federations would “bankrupt” football’s governing body.
But Infantino has stressed that his investment plans can be easily covered through cutting FIFA costs and is determined to deliver on his promises should he win the race to succeed Sepp Blatter.
“I think we all understand that this Congress is a crossroads moment for FIFA as the world governing body of the world’s number one sport,” he said in a statement issued to member associations.
“The decisions taken on Friday will shape football for generations to come and your association has the opportunity to vote to help create a new path based on renewal, prosperity and trust. This is an important responsibility.
“The reform proposals and the election of FIFA’s next president are defining moments for the sport we all love. It is now or never for FIFA to embrace change and to bring football back to the heart of FIFA, strengthening investment in football development, engaging properly with associations across the globe, understanding their challenges and meeting their needs.
“I am a person who keeps his promises, someone with genuine core values, with a fully costed plan for the future and with a proven track record of delivering commercial growth, good governance and credible programmes of investment and development.
“Let me be absolutely clear with you: the increases in development and other assistance funds outlined in my manifesto can easily be put in place considering that I am proposing reinvesting back into football development only around $1.2billion out of over $5.5 billion revenues.
“Very significant savings can easily be made in FIFA’s costs so that the amount for reinvestment in football I am proposing can be safely delivered. This is what FIFA should be about – Football Development! Not politics, political intrigues or personal attacks.
“My campaign manifesto and 90-day plan set out the core elements of my thinking and also reflect the FIFA reform package that you will vote on this Friday. And my conversations tell me that football is ready to look forward with determination and confidence. Friday is an opportunity we must not miss.”