Re-elected FIFA president Infantino defends football calendar expansion

By Sports Desk March 16, 2023

Gianni Infantino believes there should be "way more" football as he defended FIFA's expansion of the World Cup and new Club World Cup proposal.

Infantino was re-elected as FIFA president at the FIFA Congress on Thursday after running unopposed.

FIFA confirmed earlier this week that the 2026 World Cup will consist of 48 teams, up from 32, split into 12 groups of four, while plans were also confirmed for an expanded Club World Cup containing 32 teams.

Speaking at the Congress in Rwanda, Infantino said: "When I hear there is too much football, yes, maybe in some places, but not everywhere. In fact, in most parts of the world there is not enough football played.

"We need way more and not less competitions, we want football to develop worldwide.

"We are discussing organising a women's Club World Cup and a FIFA World Series in March every two years, when teams are free from playing qualifiers."

He also later pointed to the English football calendar as well as the Super Cup tournaments in Italian and Spanish football, believing that there is less criticism of others from the media than there is of FIFA, which was a theme of the president's closing remarks.

Infantino also addressed previous controversial comments he believed had been falsely reported, including at the World Cup where he accused reporters of racism for criticising the host country of Qatar.

"I think I called racists those who were qualifying fans who had different skin colour of fans who were cheering European teams as not real fans, that's when I used the word 'racist', and I stick to that," he said.

He had also appeared to compare his refusal to give up on becoming FIFA president with Rwandan genocide in his opening remarks on Thursday, but was quick to quash this suggestion when it was put to him by The Athletic's Matt Slater at the closing press conference.

"I find it really incredible that you can interpret what I say as making an association with one of the most terrible tragedies that happened with anything that happened in my life," he said.

"I would never make a comparison with a tragedy and my life. What I want to say is that this country is so inspiring for so many people that when we come with our little problems, we should just be a bit more humble about things. That's all that I said."

Related items

  • 5 occasions team-mates have clashed following Nicolas Jackson-Noni Madueke spat 5 occasions team-mates have clashed following Nicolas Jackson-Noni Madueke spat

    Chelsea pair Nicolas Jackson and Noni Madueke are not the first team-mates to clash on a football pitch.

    Cole Palmer’s four-goal haul in the Blues’ 6-0 win over Everton on Monday was overshadowed by what boss Mauricio Pochettino called an “unacceptable” altercation over who should take a second-half penalty.

    Palmer, the club’s designated penalty-taker, finally took charge, following intervention from captain Conor Gallagher, recovering his composure to score his fourth.

    Jackson and Madueke follow a long line of club colleagues to have had a very public difference of opinion. Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some previous incidents.

    Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer

    Perhaps the classic of the genre, the Newcastle team-mates came to blows towards the end of a 3-0 home defeat by Aston Villa in April 2005, Dyer grabbing Bowyer by the throat and the pair trading punches before being separated by Villa’s Gareth Barry. Both men were dismissed by referee Barry Knight – defender Steven Taylor had earlier been sent off for handball – and later hauled before the media by manager Graeme Souness to apologise for their conduct.

    Graeme Le Saux and David Batty

    Blackburn’s Le Saux was left with a painful reminder of his bust-up with David Batty during a 3-0 Champions League defeat at Spartak Moscow in November 1995. Four minutes into the game, the pair collided as both tried to retrieve a Mike Newell pass and Batty made his displeasure abundantly clear. The row descended into a pushing match before Le Saux – he later insisted in self-defence – struck out, breaking his left hand during a scuffle in which intervening skipper Tim Sherwood took a blow to the cheek.

    Hugo Lloris and Son Heung-min

    Tottenham keeper Lloris and striker Son became involved in a heated row on the pitch as the half-time whistle sounded in a 1-0 Premier League victory over Everton in July 2020. Lloris angrily confronted the South Korea international over his failure to track back and the pair had to be separated by team-mates Giovani Lo Celso and Harry Winks. The spat continued down the tunnel and into the dressing room, although the two men embraced after the final whistle.

    Derek Hales and Mike Flanagan

    Charlton strike partners Hales and Flanagan came to blows during an FA Cup tie against Maidstone in January 1979. The source of the spat was allegedly Flanagan reacting to Hales failing to pass to him by making a disparaging remark about his team-mate’s genitals. Both were sent off.

    Craig Levein and Graeme Hogg

    The Hearts duo became involved in a disagreement during a pre-season friendly at Raith in August 1994 after their side had almost conceded. Both men threw punches, but it was Levein’s which did the damage, breaking Hogg’s nose. He was sent off as he was being carried off on a stretcher with Levein suffering the same fate, and they were later handed 10 and 12-match bans respectively.

  • I’m buzzing – hat-trick hero Cole Palmer thanks Chelsea for opportunity to join I’m buzzing – hat-trick hero Cole Palmer thanks Chelsea for opportunity to join

    Cole Palmer is grateful for the opportunity Chelsea gave him to join the club after he celebrated successive home hat-tricks when he scored four times in the Blues’ 6-0 win over Everton.

    The Manchester City academy graduate, who joined the Blues last summer, scored a spectacular individual goal to open the scoring.

    Palmer scored a header and added a third when he capitalised on a Jordan Pickford error before converting a penalty in the second half. Nicolas Jackson and Alfie Gilchrist also got on the scoresheet as the Toffees came completely unstuck.

    It was Palmer’s second home triple in a row, following his three goals against Manchester United earlier this month.

    Palmer told Chelsea’s official website: “To make the decision to come to Chelsea was a big one for me and my family, but I just wanted to play football. I’m thankful to Chelsea for the opportunity and I’m buzzing.

    “We started well and to score a hat-trick, I’m buzzing. I think the team needed that after last Sunday and some previous games. We did well tonight. It was a great game for the team and me.”

    Palmer showed wonderful skill for his first goal after he jinked past Jarrad Branthwaite, receiving a flick-on from Jackson before he produced a first-time curled effort from outside the box into the bottom left-hand corner.

    The 21-year-old added: “I think my first one was my favourite.

    “My right-footed goal was a bit of a swinger, but my first one was probably my favourite. As an attacker, you always want to help the team with goals and assists, but my main focus was playing well and trying to get into the positions to score goals.”

    Manager Mauricio Pochettino heaped praise on Palmer, who is now joint top in the Premier League’s Golden Boot race with Erling Haaland on 20 goals each.

    He said: “I don’t judge the player when we sign (them) but I expected the best. It doesn’t surprise us, he’s a player who has had the capacity to score goals when he was playing at Manchester City. He has the capacity to score easily.

    “The way he’s adapted, playing and performing is fantastic. He behaves like a top scorer and I think it’s amazing for the team and him.”

  • Football rumours: Chelsea seeking new Enzo Fernandez and Mykhailo Mudryk deals Football rumours: Chelsea seeking new Enzo Fernandez and Mykhailo Mudryk deals

    What the papers say

    The Sun reports that Chelsea are seeking contract extensions for midfielder Enzo Fernandez and winger Mykhailo Mudryk. The two 23-year-olds’ previous long-term deals would be extended by another year.

    The Daily Mail reports that Liverpool are considering Sunderland goalkeeper Anthony Patterson as a potential replacement for Caoimhin Kelleher.

    According to the Telegraph, ex-Chelsea and Everton boss Frank Lampard has dropped out of the running to become the new head coach of Canada’s national team.

    Social media round-upPlayers to watch

    Tosin Adarabioyo: Tottenham have made an offer to the Fulham defender, says Teamtalk, as they try to beat Manchester United in the race to sign the 26-year-old.

    Viktor Gyokeres: Manchester United are keen on the Sweden striker from Sporting Lisbon but fear Liverpool may scupper their signing chances, reports HITC.

    Djed Spence: Tottenham’s 23-year-old right-back is one of several senior players expected to leave the club this summer, claims Football Insider.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.