Gianni Infantino’s New Lunar Press Conference

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Gianni Infantino does not seem to be afraid of ridicule, far from it. Already during his press conference inaugurating the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the President of FIFA offered us an anthology of punchlines to respond to the many criticisms that the world football body has suffered due to its assumption in planetary competition. in the Emirate, accused of not respecting basic human rights, environmental issues or even the consumption – prohibited – of alcohol around and in stadiums. Two days before the final of this 22nd edition of the World Cup between the France team and Argentina in Lusail, the boss of the international round ball organized a new conference with journalists to look at the competition, and no less .

“The best of all time”

In fact, Gianni Infantino is full of praise for this Qatari World Cup, not only in terms of organization on the part of “organizers of this World Cup, who have the power to be alone”even considering that it is “the best of all time”. Among the reasons that motivated him to think about success in sports, the Italian-Swiss leader mentioned specific arbitration, but which is often opposed by some players during the competition: “Extra time is longer than usual. A match lasts 90 minutes but there are many stoppages, on average ten minutes of extra time per match. This means that a match lasts 59 minutes in effective time, and it is something very effective.before saluting the state of mind of the players, with “little simulation, very few yellow and red cards”. Although the number of eliminations has fallen significantly since 2010 (4 in 2018 and 2022 – the latter could still change in the minor and grand finals, compared to 10 in 2014 and 17 in 2010), it is less for warnings, already 213 crackers have been distributed (including 17 during the Netherlands – Argentina in the quarter-finals).

The FIFA President also returned to the controversy surrounding the One Love armband, dedicated to defending the rights of the LGBTQI + community, which was finally dismissed by the body. A decision criticized by Denmark (threat of boycott from FIFA, minister with armband in the stands) and Germany (press release, gesture of protest from the players), who did not hesitate to protest in many ways in the stadiums of Qatar. “FIFA is an organization with 211 member countries. Many concerns were expressed. We need to take care of all opinions”explained Infantino, before proceeding to the area of ​​claim in this planetary meeting. “We owe values, human rights, to everyone. All the supporters who come to the stadium and the spectators, the billions of supporters in front of the television. Everyone has their own problems. Fans want to think 90 or 120 minutes without thinking about anything but football. We are responsible for giving that feeling. Between competitions, everyone is free to express their opinions.

Another topic that caused a stir a few weeks before the start of the World Cup: the many deaths of foreign workers for the construction of stadiums. A survey revealed by Guardian claimed the death of more than 6,500 people in these construction sites, before this statistic was denied, not only by Qatar itself but also by the International Labor Organization (ILO), which must rely on this tournament to improve their living and working conditions: “Every person who died is one too many, it is a tragedy for the families, for us. The figures that have been mentioned are different. Three people died in the construction of the stadium. The 300 or 400 people who deaths have been in buildings (except stadiums, editor’s note) for several years, since 2014. We must be precise about the numbers given and how we cite them. We are close to an agreement with the ILO to make sure we can use the World Cup to improve people’s lives. »

Reforms coming for the Club World Cup

After trying to calm down all the controversies surrounding this competition, Gianni Infantino decided to face a reform announced a few years ago in the World Cup scheduled for Canada-United States-Mexico in 2026: the move to 48 that team. Although it is convinced by the show offered by the Qatari edition, the planetary body should finally think about another organization of the group stage, possibly leaving its 16 groups in 3 countries. For now, the FIFA boss is still unsure of the final format, hesitating in between “12 groups of 4 teams” (the first two in each pool qualify, along with the 8 best third places, for the knockout phase – or divide the World Cup into two halves of 24 teams, 4 pools of 6 teams, and the winner of each tournament will play in the final) and “16 groups of 3” (the first two qualify directly for the 8th), before admitting that the first option would be the most plausible: “We will discuss it to see if it is not appropriate to have 12 groups of 4.” FIFA, with all the federations, must decide during a council scheduled for 2023, while the organizer of the 2030 World Cup will be decided in 2024, as revealed by the native of Brig (south of France) . Swiss).

Finally, the Club World Cup, another intercontinental competition organized by FIFA, should experience a revolution: in fact, while it has only hosted 7 teams since 2007, Gianni Infantino announced his new reform for the interclub this competition: “The new men’s Club World Cup will take place in 2025 and will bring together 32 teams, Infantino announced. This 32-team tournament will continue, making it a sort of World Cup. » A decision widely debated by the ECA (European Club Association), which also rejected this idea from FIFA a few days ago, according to information from DailyMail. However, Infantino is ready to do everything to convince the union of European clubs: “Obviously it will take some time. It will be the best teams in the world that will participate. All the details will be worked out in the next few weeks, in the next few months, in consultation with everyone. Now the FIFA Council has decided in principle to organize this competition. (…) We know the health of the players. (…) When we talk about 11 billion dollars of income, excluding the Club World Cup, it means that we can do more and redistribute in football. » In this new press conference, Infantino is not yet ready to rehabilitate his image in the world of football…

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