DOHA (Reuters) – Gianni Infantino has stepped sharply back from hotly contested plans for a biennial World Cup, telling world soccer’s leadership that FIFA had never proposed such an idea.
The FIFA president has been under fire for the past year, particularly in Europe, for proposals to increase the frequency of the global extravaganza from every four years, to every two.
But at FIFA’s congress in Qatar on Thursday, Infantino told assembled heads of world football that the sport’s governing body had not been proposing the move which was threatening to split the soccer world.
“Let me be very clear that FIFA has not proposed a biennial process,” Infantino said. “The last FIFA congress passed to the administration a vote, with 88 percent voted in favour, to study the feasibility of the World Cup every two years.
“FIFA administration, under the leadership of (former Arsenal manager) Arsene (Wenger), then started a feasibility… FIFA did not propose it. It concluded that it is feasible, that it would have some repercussions and impacts.”
Meanwhile, Gianni Infantino said that he will be seeking a third term as FIFA president next year, he told the congress of the global football governing body in Doha.
“Because we are all united here and the members of FIFA are here, I wanted to tell you first,” he said.
Photo – FIFA president Gianni Infantino speaks to the media during the closing press conference of the 72nd FIFA Congress in Doha, Qatar, 31 March 2022. EPA-EFE/NOUSHAD THEKKAYIL