The World Cup is set to go through a few significant changes if Gianni Infantino, one of the four candidates as president of FIFA, is elected as head of the football organization.
One of Infantino’s key plans is to increase expenditures for football development from 20 percent to 50 percent. Within 2010-2014, only a fifth of the expenses were used for football development.
He also wants to carry out some reforms to the governing body in order to promote transparency, which would help in regaining the trust of people.
Who is Gianni Infantino? Quite possibly the next FIFA president. He posted his manifesto today: https://t.co/DEOLdj8stF
— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) January 19, 2016
In his manifesto that was published on Tuesday, Infantino aims to introduce a number of reforms, such as term limits for officials, salary transparency, and a new FIFA Council to replace the existing executive committee.
“FIFA and football have a lot at stake in this election. Football means so much to so many people all over the world and makes such a difference to so many lives,” said the Swiss candidate.
In addition, the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) general secretary called for football fans and enthusiasts to “stand up” and make the “right decisions.” Even though he thinks that FIFA is facing some tough times, Infantino believes he has the experience and determination to take the necessary steps.
Infantino, together with the other candidates – Jordanian Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, South African Tokyo Sexwale, and French former FIFA executive Jérôme Champagne – aims to succeed Sepp Blatter as president.
— Financial Times (@FT) January 10, 2016
The four candidates will try to get as many votes as possible from FIFA’s 209 member associations.
Blatter was banned from football for eight years after he sent a “disloyal payment” to former UEFA president Michel Platini, which was discovered last year. Platini was also banned from football for the next eight years.
— HT Sports (@HTSportsNews) January 11, 2016
While the sections in transparency and increased football development funding are seen as logical steps that would boost Infantino’s chances at the elections, it is his proposition of a regional World Cup that has gotten the most the attention.
In his plan, instead of getting bids from countries for World Cup hosting, the bids may come from regional areas. One example is the upcoming 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Infantino suggests that matches may be set in countries across the Gulf and not exclusively in the host country.
He also said that each confederation should wait at least two editions of the World Cup before they are permitted to host again. According to the UEFA executive, this allows better rotation of hosting duties of the “unique event.”
Infantino added that he aims to “investigate” the possibility that the World Cup would not only be hosted by one or two countries, but by an entire region.
— FOX SPORTS News (@FOXSportsNews) January 19, 2016
This has already been made possible at the UEFA, where Infantino and then-president Platini worked to host the tournament across 13 countries in Europe. However, when Platini was suspended, Infantino expressed his desire to join the candidacy.
Another change he wants to make if he becomes FIFA president is to increase the number of World Cup participants from the current 32 teams to 40 teams.
Another unique idea that the Swiss candidate proposes is to create a globetrotter version of football by assembling the game’s greats. In recent years, third parties have made much money on legends games, as they attract crowds at wider age gaps.
The elections for the FIFA presidency will be on February 26, and right after that is the bidding for the 2026 World Cup. The bidding was supposedly scheduled in 2015, but was stalled due to controversies and corruption issues surrounding FIFA.
[Image by Matthias Hangst, Getty Images]