*Gianni Infantino, FIFA President
*I am very happy about the outcome of the meeting, but I’m even happier about the spirit of this meeting. The spirit was very positive with a lot of interaction and discussion. We have taken many decisions to guide us towards our new vision. There was definitely a positive spirit to discussing how many teams to include in the World Cup. It’s challenging to chair a meeting of the FIFA council with over 30 members coming from different parts of the world, from different cultures, all with different mind-sets, but also with different interests - which is legitimate. However, in the end, everyone has to defend the global interests of football. For me, that starts from the assumption that if you increase the global number of teams for the World Cup, then you increase the individual numbers of participating regions.
I believe that there is nothing better to boost football development than to participate. We will do our homework, there is a lot to discuss and define. What is certainly true is that whatever costs there would be in expanding the World Cup, would be largely outweighed by the revenues. In the end it is a sporting decision.
As to the cost-cutting measures being discussed. It’s not about cost cutting; it’s about making us more efficient. Of course, we will deliver our events and tournaments at the top standard, but if we can do the same spending less, that means we will have more money to invest in football, and this is the ultimate objective.
After this meeting, there is a lot of expectation for the FIFA administration to translate the new vision into a strategy and an action plan, as well as to work on the format of the FIFA World Cup as of 2026 and to streamline the processes to contain administrational costs and allocate more resources to the development of football.
I am trying to streamline the processes and rationalise the resources. We have allocated USD $1.4 billion during this cycle – 2014 to 2018 – to the 211 member associations. If we do not expand our basis for sponsorship and TV rights, the only way we could do it is to be rational with the administrative costs.
(The fight against discrimination) is a matter of education. Even if culturally some expressions are part of the sport and are pronounced by fans, we should not allow this. This is a long-term process, and severe sanctions cannot be the only way to control it. Coming from the United Nations, we like dialog and we like educating people. If sanctions were the only operative way to remove stumbling blocks, the world today would be a better world – because people tend to be very good in sanctioning and maybe less on educating. We have to ally both.