January 22 – On the first day of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial on Capitol Hill in Washington, FIFA president Gianni Infantino courted the US president thousands of miles away at a dinner during the World Economic Forum in Davos, expressing his hope that “the ‘American dream’ becomes reality…all over the world.”
FIFA’s supremo had been invited to the World Economic Forum in the lush Swiss ski resort by Trump. “The ‘American dream’ is something we all need to have,” Infantino said. “All those who love soccer. The four billion people around the world. We all need to dream this dream and I am sure that with your help, President, with your contribution and the contribution of all of you here, we can make sure that the ‘American dream’ becomes reality, not only in America, as we have seen, but all over the world.”
It is perhaps unclear to which American dream Infantino was referring in the current divisive, political climate. On Tuesday, the US Senate adopted ground rules for Trump’s impeachment trial after a first day of debate that was marked by rancor and very little bipartisanship. In Davos, a bullish Trump blasted climate activists, decrying them as climate “prophets of doom”.
But Infantino found enough reasons to praise the American president. He introduced Trump at a dinner for business executives, quipping that “I am the second-most important man in Davos.”
Infantino highlighted the power of football, argued that the US ‘is on the verge of becoming the soccer power in the world,’ and called Trump ‘a sportsman.’
The FIFA boss has been keen on strengthening his relationship with Trump after the world federation awarded the US the hosting rights, along with Mexico and Canada, for the 2026 World Cup, the first global finals to be played in a 48-team format.
Last September, Trump hosted Infantino at the White House in a meeting to discuss women’s football. That encounter came on the back of the Infantino’s visit to Trump’s Bedminster golf club in New Jersey in August.
Infantino had previously visited the Oval Office in 2018 alongside US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro. That same year the FIFA president also addressed Trump and other world leaders at the G20 Leaders Summit in Buenos Aires.
The transcript of Infantino’s interaction with US President Donald Trump can be found here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-dinner-global-chief-executive-officers-davos-switzerland/
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1600970021labto1600970021ofdlr1600970021owedi1600970021sni@o1600970021fni1600970021