June 3 – At a UN General Assembly event, FIFA president Gianni Infantino once again presented the global governing body as a reformed organisation, stressing the importance of a transparent transfer market, proper bidding processes and praising the partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Infantino – now often referred to as WO1 (World Number One), his designation in plans to reorganise elite club football with private equity money – never misses an opportunity to highlight how far FIFA has come, in his view, since the maligned days of Sepp Blatter when the world federation was tarnished by the corruption of its ruling cabal of elected leaders.
FIFA’s current supremo claimed that “the new FIFA has learned from its past experiences, which showed how sport organisations can be severely impacted by corruption and rent-seeking behaviours of individuals,” adding that “unless appropriate checks and balances are fully in place, correctly implemented and frequently initiated.”
In particular Infantino highlighted that match manipulation and a speculative transfer market remain vulnerable to corruption.
“Match manipulation, while relatively uncommon, carries a devastating impact upon the integrity of the game, competitions and teams,” said Infantino. “The International Transfer System must also be fit for purpose. A transfer market fuelled by speculation and not solidarity means a growing risk of conflicts of interest, huge market inflation and an increasing competitive imbalance.”
“In response, we have created the FIFA Clearing House, a central counterpart in charge of performing all required checks in player transfers, and ensuring the money paid by the purchasing club is correctly distributed to the training clubs in compliance with national and international financial regulations.”
He also highlighted how under his presidency FIFA reformed the bidding processes for the World Cup, both in the men’s and women’s game. Zurich awarded the 2026 World Cup to the United States, Canada and Mexico and the 2023 Women’s World Cup to Australia and New Zealand. At the recent congress, FIFA ratified a decision to align the decision-making process to award hosting rights across the men’s and women’s game, with the Congress deciding the hosts of the Women’s World Cup in the future as well.
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