Gianni Infantino has been re-elected as president of FIFA until 2027 after standing unopposed at the congress of world football’s governing body on Thursday.
The 52-year-old Swiss lawyer, who succeeded the disgraced Sepp Blatter in 2016, was waved in for a third term by acclamation, just as he was four years ago, by delegates from the 211 member federations.
“To all those who love me, and I know there are so many, and also those who hate me, I know there are a few: I love you all,” Infantino told delegates in the Rwandan capital, where the voting system did not register the number of dissident voices.
While FIFA statutes currently limit a president to a maximum of three four-year terms, Infantino has already prepared the ground to stay until 2031, declaring in December that his first three years at the helm did not count as a full term.
Infantino, who staunchly defended Qatar’s hosting of last year’s World Cup as the Gulf state’s treatment of migrant workers, women and the LGBTQ community came under the spotlight, has overseen the expansion of the men’s and women’s World Cup and huge increases in FIFA revenues.
Norwegian Football Federation president Lise Klaveness had said she would not support Infantino and tabled a proposal to discuss at the congress “FIFA’s responsibilities to remedy human rights abuses” in relation to the Qatar World Cup and future tournaments.
However, Infantino’s mainly European-based opponents were not able to put forward a candidate to stand against the man who was once Michel Platini’s number two at UEFA.
Infantino has announced that the men’s World Cup will increase from 32 teams to 48 for the next edition in North America in 2026, while the women’s World Cup will feature 32 teams for the first time in Australia and New Zealand later this year.
He has also announced projected income of $11 billion in the four years up to 2026, compared to $7.5 billion in the last four-year cycle ending in 2022.