Infantino manifesto: spread the wealth

Gianni Infantino, the UEFA secretary general, released his manifesto he intends to implement if he becomes FIFA president.

He had previously suggested that the World Cup be expanded from 32 to 40 teams -- a position shared by other candidates -- but he also has called for the World Cup to be hosted on a regional basis like Euro 2020 will be.

The 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea is the only time the event has been co-hosted, a decision FIFA made to end the political fight between the competing bid nations. There have been co-hosts for the European Championship.

''FIFA should investigate the possibility of organizing the World Cup not only in one or two countries but in a whole region, so enabling several countries to enjoy the honor and benefits of hosting the World Cup,'' the Infantino manifesto says.

A regional tournament -- for example, a tournament co-hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada -- would solve some of the problems of regional rivals fighting between themselves for the right to host the tournament.

It would expand the opportunities for countries in Africa and South America to share hosting duties -- countries who'd be unable to handle the entire load of offering 8-10 stadiums on their own.

As it stands, the United States is considered the only country outside of Europe that has enough modern stadiums to handle the World Cup and is currently eligible to bid for the next World Cup up for grabs, the 2026 finals. (Asian countries are prohibited from bidding since Qatar will host the tournament in 2022.)

The 45-year-old Infantino, whose background is as a lawyer, also wants to give out a greater share of FIFA's moneys. He cautioned a "proper risk analysis must be conducted'' -- FIFA has reserves of $1.5 billion, in large part because it self-insures -- before giving money -- within four-year cycles -- to FIFA's 209 federations and six confederations.

The Swiss-Italian's plan calls for each federation to be offered $5 million for development projects and ongoing programs and another $1 million for travel expenses and each confederation to receive $40 million for development projects, plus up to $4 million for assistance in organizing age-group tournaments.

Infantino emerged as the accidental candidate -- “We made a draw and my name came out,” he joked in October -- when his candidacy was announced.

Infantino was first considered a backup candidate in case Michel Platini, the UEFA president, could not run. Indeed, Platini, banned for eight years by FIFA's ethics committee, pulled out of the race to concentrate on his appeal of the ban for violating FIFA's ethics rules in connection with a payment of $2 million from FIFA in 2011.

Infantino is considered the most serious rival to Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, who has emerged as the favorite. The other candidates are Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, South African Tokyo Sexwale and Frenchman Jerome Champagne.

4 comments about "Infantino manifesto: spread the wealth".
  1. Ric Fonseca, January 19, 2016 at 2:20 p.m.

    To Paul K: OOOPS!!! your article repeats itself... someone didn't edit properly!
    Sound like Infantino want's "to buy" some votes with his proposal to distribute the FIFA billions in reserves... no es cierto?

  2. replied, January 19, 2016 at 4:03 p.m.

    Obviously, which means, nothing changes,panta rhei, particularly money.

  3. Carlos Figueroa replied, January 20, 2016 at 9:17 a.m.

    1.5 billion in reserves...This is why you can't just create a new world soccer authority; there is too much money involved. Best bet would be to move Fifa h.q. to Great Britain or the US where financial laws are stricter.

  4. Wooden Ships, January 20, 2016 at 10:49 a.m.

    Like overthrowing a government, not sure what will takes it place. I'm seriously worried about FIFA surviving. The knuckle heads that awarded Russia and Qatar have really screwed this pooch. Firstly, bribes, payoffs and levels of corruption are commonplace and they way business has operated forever. Is it fair, of course not. Would any of this happened if those two countries didn't get the next two Cups?

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