Infantino to stand unopposed

DOHA (Agencies): FIFA President Gianni Infantino will stand unopposed for a third term as head of world football’s governing body next year, FIFA confirmed on Thursday.

A brief statement from FIFA said that Infantino would be the only candidate when the election takes place at the 73rd FIFA Congress in Kigali, Rwanda on March 16. “No other candidature has been submitted,” the statement said.

Infantino’s third term follows in the line of previous FIFA presidents — Joao Havelange was in charge from 1974 to 1998 and Infantino’s predecessor Sepp Blatter held office from 1998 to 2015. Infantino was elected in 2016 promising to “restore FIFA’s image” after the federation was plagued by scandal in the final years of Blatter’s time in charge.

The German Football Federation (DFB) said on Wednesday it would not support Infantino’s re-election. DFB president Bernd Neuendorf said he had hoped Infantino would show “deeper consideration for human rights and more commitment to humanitarian issues”.

Neuendorf has been a strong supporter of calls from rights groups for FIFA to set up a compensation fund for migrant workers who build the World Cup stadiums. Infantino can point to the growth in FIFA’s turnover during his time in charge — the governing body is forecasting turnover of $7 billion for the four-year cycle till 2022. But many of his proposals for the reform of club football, including a plan to expand the Club World Cup to 24 teams, have received a lukewarm reception.