FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Wednesday called for a “healthier, less discriminatory and more competitive football” during his discussion with the second Sport Business forum organized by Efe.
In a wide-ranging chat, set-up in coordination with Best Option Media, the head of football’s global governing body addressed the prospect of a 2030 World Cup in Spain and Portugal, the European Championship fever that has gripped his native Switzerland after reaching the quarter-finals and two unavoidable topics: Covid and the Super League.
Question: Has the financial insecurity caused by the Covid-19 crisis been allayed at all by the loans and grants offered by FIFA?
Answer: It’s never enough, but they have been vital for football’s survival in many countries. Thanks to the extraordinarily strong position of FIFA and the work it has done in recent years, we were able to propose this relief plan worth $1.5 billion, something that no other sporting organization has been able to do.
In Europe, there are many governments that have helped football, but in the majority of countries in the word, without this help going to amateur, womens and youth football, football would have stopped for many years. That’s the role of FIFA. We did it for football.
Q: Let’s talk about the Super League. FIFA came out against it but called for dialogue, what’s FIFA’s real position on it?
A: We were clear in this respect. What is important, as president of FIFA, is to maintain a role of inclusion, dialogue and analysis. We are always going to defend the competitions within the football pyramid. We need to analyze and identify what the problems are in football and how we can resolve them. There are some red lines that cannot be crossed.
Q: What’s your forecast for the 24-team Club World Cup, which had been scheduled to be taking place now (but was postponed)?
A: When we talk about that project, it’s important to talk about the international calendar in a global sense. We want a healthier football, with less discrimination and more competition and to do that we have to look at the whole international calendar and not only the Club World Cup.
The international calendar is fixed until 2024. After, we have a bank page and we will design the new one.
My ambition, my dream, our idea, our philosophy is to have some 50 clubs from every continent that could win a Club World Cup and some 50 national teams that could win a World Cup.
Q: Just a year and a half until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, what kind of TV revenue are you expecting and how are you going to get more young people to tune in?
A: At the Russia World Cup we made $3.1 billion from television and the estimate for Qatar 2022 is similar, it will be about $3.3 billion.
It’s true that for many youngsters FIFA is a video game, not a sporting organization. This means they know FIFA and football, we have to take advantage of that to get them to play football.
Q: There are several rumored joint bids for the 2030 World Cup. Spain and Portugal, for example, what do you think? Can you ensure a transparent election?
A: The FIFA president doesn’t have a vote, it’s the 211 countries that vote. Spain and Portugal are two footballing nations and would make a solid candidacy. It’s important that there is renewed interest from many countries. This means people have confidence in FIFA’s process, something that perhaps wasn’t the case. Now it's the case because the voting for the 2026 World Cup was open, transparent and public and not 20 men sat in a room behind closed doors.EFE