Gianni Infantino’s appointment as FIFA president on Friday was quickly followed by accusations that he had promised the 2026 World Cup to the USA in exchange for help in the election.
Doubt was inevitably cast over the former UEFA secretary’s legacy with many still fearful of a repeat of Sepp Blatter’s destructive reign.
The pressure on Infantino’s shoulders immediately came to light as the media and all those associated with football turned a focus towards his plans in a plea for salvation.
Infantino set the tone for a positive transformation at FIFA when he turned his attention towards the importance of the supporters in a recent interview.
He said: “We have to listen to them, we have to listen to what they say because football without the fans is nothing.”
The president intends to expand the World Cup from 32 to 40 teams in order to unify the sport again and also plans on trialing the use of video technology in order to improve the game.
He told The Guardian: “In football you have a flow, you have a referee who takes important decisions. So we need to see what type of impact any technological help will have on the flow. We need to start with serious tests sooner rather than later.”
The simplicity of his initial ideas and the lack of politics surrounding them comes as a refreshing change from the previous business at FIFA that overshadowed the game itself.
- Gary Purvis, 40, Leeds, Content Manager at Footymad: “I think Infantino’s appointment is a positive, much-needed move to reform FIFA as world football’s governing body regains trust after the Sepp Blatter era. He claims to be a football man rather than politician and will put the game first, sharing the wealth among the member associations.”
- Chris Warfe, 27, London, Freelance writer: “His track record at UEFA shows he is a man that can be trusted to carry out what is needed and hand out punishment where it is needed too. It’s going to be a difficult term for Infantino and a change at the top doesn’t automatically mean an end to the corruption, but it’s a step in the right direction as the clean-up begins.”
- Steve Klein, 35, London: “The simple fact that he looks to be more involved with football as a fan than Blatter did is a positive straight away. There is the worry that those within FIFA who remain to be supporters of Blatter will make it a more difficult job than it already is for him. He looks to have an honest love for the sport and looks to be a man that hates the idea of football being tainted.”