Without a formal vote, as there is no candidate to face him, Gianni Infantino has been re-elected this Thursday as FIFA president until 2027 by acclamation, as established in the regulations. The new coronation of the Swiss leader at the congress held in Kigali (Rwanda) represents support for efficient economic and governance management, but also highly questioned by the international community and some federations due to the conflicts that the World Cup in Qatar unleashed earlier, during and after your celebration. Without going any further, Germany announced on Tuesday that it would not support Infantino’s re-election because it had not yet received explanations about who and how he made the decision to ban players from wearing armbands during the World Cup in defense of LGTBI rights. In turn, the president of the Norwegian association, Lise Klaveness, managed to have a debate included among the points for the day of the congress to demand compensation for the families of the workers killed in the construction of the stadiums in Qatar and for those who experienced salary scams or illegal recruitment fees. Along the same lines, Amnesty International is demanding that FIFA use the Qatar World Cup Legacy fund to repair the damage caused. FIFA, through the head of the Human Rights subcommittee, Michael Llamas, undertook to carry out an evaluation of the impact of the Qatari event on human rights and future competitions.
The relationship between football and respect for human rights has become the great workhorse of FIFA and Infantino is no stranger to external pressure in this regard. The latest case is the attempt to include Saudi Arabia as the official sponsor of the next Women’s Soccer World Cup to be held this summer in Australia and New Zealand. With the motto “Visit Arabia” in the background, the parties negotiated a million-dollar contract that has been paralyzed due to complaints from the Australian and New Zealand governments. FIFA never made an agreement official that almost certainly will not be signed because linking the Women’s World Cup to a country where women’s rights are violated is not the most appropriate. “The World Cup should be a celebration of women’s football, progress and equality. A festival for all and all that should not be stained by another issue ”, Infantino slipped.
In the press conference after the re-election, the Swiss leader clarified: “We have talked with Visit Saudi they did not conclude in the signing of a contract. That being said, FIFA is an association of 211 countries and they are all equal, there is nothing wrong with Saudi Arabia, China or the United States being able to act as sponsors. Australia has been trading very large quantities with Saudi Arabia for 100 years. The same does not happen with corporations like FIFA, it is a double standard that I do not understand, even so, there are no contracts, they only discussed it, but nothing would happen”. Also in this sense, FIFA will seek a venue to launch its new 32-participant Club World Cup that does not generate conflicts in terms of human rights.
Infantino was also asked about the Negreira case and expressed his concern. “We observe everything that happens and when there are negative situations we are concerned because the clubs, especially the big ones, do a lot for football around the world. The example of Spain will have to be analyzed to see how it can be solved, things have also happened in Italy, that is not good for football and we all have to operate, giving a positive boost if possible, because it is useless to grow animosity, it is more important to understand and find solutions”
“I promised to organize the best World Cup in history and we achieved it. Five billion viewers, three million fans went to the stadiums, teams from the five qualified continents, Morocco the first African country to reach the semifinals, congratulations to Argentina… The infrastructure was perfect, there were zero incidents, some may say that it is because alcohol was not drunk in and around the stadiums. Of course, we assume the responsibility of dealing with human rights issues,” Infantino said in a speech focused on the economic success of his tenure and his political global expansion of FIFA to the detriment of the pockets of power and influence that historically They had Europe and South America.
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