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Shake-up or status quo? Gianni Infantino´s plan for FIFA

New FIFA president Gianni Infantino won a mandate to implement his election manifesto when he triumphed in the second round of voting at the extraordinary congree in Zurich on Friday.

But what will this mean for global football and its world governing body?

Infantino’s pre-election pledges are divided into three “key pillars” of reform, democracy and participation, and football development.

Here Omnisport assesses the flagship policies of the man who served as UEFA general secretary from 2009 and how they will guide his reforms of the embattled organisation as he takes over from Sepp Blatter.


I: Reform and Good Governance

Infantino’s first pillar is largely aligned with the FIFA reform package passed by an 89 per cent majority earlier at Friday’s Extraordinary Congress in Zurich, so the 45-year-old Swiss lawyer finds himself on solid ground.

Moves to replace the FIFA Executive Committee with a new FIFA Council to oversee the organisation, restricted terms of office for presidents and measures to increase transparency were all voted through by delegates.

Infantino also wishes for established separation of powers and functions between the FIFA Council and other administrative bodies within the organisation and to ensure independent experts are given a voice where necessary to assist the decision-making process.


II: Democracy and Participation

Infantino remains committed to the principle of one-member, one-vote in FIFA – the system under which he was elected. His efforts in racking up extensive air miles to speak to member association presidents on the campaign trail will be reflected in a commitment to include them all “extensively in specific strategy meetings to define the priorities of FIFA”.

Pledges to reflect the diversity of the membership in the make-up of the FIFA Council is once again in line with the approved reform package.


III: Football Development

This section contains arguably both Infantino’s flagship policy and his most attractive pitch.

He promises “increased development programmes with tailor-made projects fitting the specific needs of each member association. In monetary terms, this amounts to a promise of $5million over four years to each of the 209 members and $40million to the six regional federations over the same period. Regional youth tournaments will receive an additional $4m, while $1m is set aside for travel costs.

Having helped to implement an expansion of the European Championship from 16 to 24 nations alongside suspended UEFA chief Michel Platini, Infantino has similar ambitions for the World Cup, which he wants take up from 32 countries to 40. In offering its congratulations to Infantino, the European Club Association underlined its opposition to such a move.

Elsewhere there is a promise to “start a debate with all stakeholders” on the further use of technology in football. This could also be viewed as a move from the Platini playbook, with the former France captain having softened his stance on opposing goalline technology.

Platini approved a review of its use before his December ban from football, with Infantino and UEFA’s executive committee last month voting in favour of using goalline technology at Euro 2016 and during the Champions League from next season.

Fri 26 Feb, 2016
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