Sport and politics: Infantino and Macron open new FIFA office in Paris

June 11 – FIFA has officially spread its wings in Europe with the formal opening of an office in Paris. The world federation confirmed the news on Thursday when French president Emmanuel Macron and FIFA president Gianni Infantino opened the Hotel de la Marine where the office will be located. 

The opening of the Paris office aligns with Infantino’s vision for a global FIFA, though how moving part of the world federation’s operations from Zurich to the French capital addresses that need remains to be seen. FIFA wants to use the Paris hub to boost its commercial operations as well as strengthen ties with African member associations in countries with strong French ties. Zurich has eleven regional development offices around the world and the ruling body will also establish its Clearing House for player transfers in Amsterdam.

“Our aim of making football truly global also means that FIFA itself needs to have a more balanced and global organisational set‑up,” said Infantino in a statement. “Paris is a natural home for FIFA, not least since it was the original home of FIFA from 1904 to 1932. It is one of the great and truly global cities of the world, well‑connected and easily accessible.”

With a move to the French capital, FIFA moves back to its root. The world federation was established in Paris in 1904. Plans for a new office were first discussed in 2019 and consolidated when the French head of state met Infantino last year.

The Hotel de Marine, near the Place De La Concorde, is housed in a stately building that underwent a four-year, €132 million renovation, partly funded by Qatar. FIFA will occupy a co-working space in the hotel.

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