Firmly opposed to the Super League project alongside UEFA, FIFA still wishes to reflect on reforms that could revive interest in world football. This is what Gianni Infantino, president of the body, explains in an interview published Tuesday morning in L’Équipe.
During the three days that shook world football, following the creation and then the dissolution of the Super League between April 18 and 21, Gianni Infantino had appeared in the background, especially supporting Aleksandr Ceferin in his fight against the twelve dissident clubs. The FIFA president had notably supported his UEFA colleague, by half-confirming the sanctions that could be taken against the clubs and players concerned.
In an email interview with L’Équipe and published this Tuesday, Infantino takes over the reins. In addition to the fact of slowing down on the sanctions to be applied against the twelve teams at the origin of the Super League, the FIFA president discusses at length the new avenues of reform of world football, in order to promote “the economic stability of the system but also the competitive equilibrium “.
An overhaul of financial fair play?
“Let’s seriously discuss the introduction of salary caps, caps on transfer fees, or caps on commissions paid to agents,” suggests Infantino. As world football and the biggest clubs go through a period of instability due to the pandemic, the Swiss leader argues in particular “that it is time to review the regulations of financial fair play and to find better formulas for the to come up”.
In terms of the game, far from being deaf to the threats of disinterest among young people in football brandished by Florentino Pérez and Andrea Agnelli, the FIFA leader seems more open to discussion than ever and calls for broader debates. A way, according to him, to avoid new divisions and the rebirth of the Super League project, which UEFA had hitherto avoided by conceding several reforms of the Champions League.
A limited number of players per team, fewer matches to play …
“Let’s also discuss a limitation on the number of players per team, as well as the obligation to have a certain number of locally trained players or even the maximum number of matches that the best can play per season”, presents Infantino. The FIFA president, who confirms all the hopes he has for his brand new Club World Cup which will begin in 2022, also wishes to discuss the format of certain competitions, while Ligue 1 plans to move to 18 clubs. “At the national level, fewer teams and play-offs, for example, could make competitions more exciting,” he told L’Équipe.
A reflection extended to international competitions. Infantino explains that Arsene Wenger’s proposals to play the World Cups and Euros every two years will be closely studied, as will the offside reform proposed by the former Arsenal coach. More than ever, after the crisis in the Super League, it is now time for discussions between world football leaders to try to breathe new life into the interest in this sport.