Fifa president Gianni Infantino on Wednesday announced he will stand for re-election as the head of football’s world governing body next year.
Infantino said earlier during a remark to the FIFA Congress in Moscow that the body had been “clinically dead” when he took over in 2016 from long-time president Sepp Blatter who was forced out after corruption allegations.
According to the Fifa boss, football’s governing body was “very much alive” and full of “joy”, two years on, with a clear vision for its future.
Since assuming the job in 2016, Infantino has put FIFA on a sound financial footing and made efforts to address allegations that FIFA had become riddled with corruption and its senior officials open to bribes.
The 48-year-old Swiss has also ushered in the introduction of innovations such as the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system to analyse controversial on-pitch incidents during matches.
Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Infantino in a short speech to the FIFA Congress.
“We know that Infantino became the head of FIFA in difficult times but he has steered it well, like a true fighter,” Putin said.
Infantino, the former secretary general of football’s European governing body UEFA, strongly backed the joint bid by the United States, Mexico and Canada host the 2026 World Cup, which easily beat Morocco in a vote of FIFA nations on Wednesday.
It was seen as a case of returning the favour — the three winning countries had given Infantino support in his bid to succeed Blatter.
His signature innovation – VAR – will make its World Cup debut in Russia.