November 29 – On tour in Africa FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said that he wants to invest more than $1 billion in the African game and found an African league.
Infantino was in Congo to celebrate the 80th birthday of club TP Mazembe, one of Africa’s biggest clubs, and participated in a legends game alongside Youri Djorkaeff and Caf president Ahmad Ahmad.
“We want to bring it (Africa) to the highest of heights and show the world the outstanding talent and amazingly gifted players your continent possesses,” said Infantino. “To do this, we want to implement a three pillar approach: refereeing, infrastructure and competitions, in close co-operation with CAF, all of its 54 member associations across Africa and other stakeholders. I am positive that we will make African football reach the top level where it should be because the quality and potential are definitely here.”
The FIFA boss wants to establish a pan-African league with the best 20 clubs, but he failed to mention how that would impact the Champions League. “We have to take the 20 best African clubs and put them in an Africa league,” said Infantino. “Such a league could make at least $200 million in revenue, which would put it among the top 10 in the world.”
During his time at UEFA, Infantino was opposed to a Super League, but with the expansion of FIFA’s Club World Cup in 2021 when the tournament will feature 24 clubs, the FIFA president seems keen on building a competitive tournament.
He also wants to boost the African game by investing more than a $1 billion in stadiums, raising that money by mobilising companies and entrepreneurs in an appeal “to collect a billion dollars before being able to give every African country a real football stadium up to FIFA standards.”
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1579812084labto1579812084ofdlr1579812084owedi1579812084sni@o1579812084fni1579812084