I read what Gianni Infantino had to say about the World Cup at the Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and it seems to be quite deceiving. The leader of football's world governing body spoke in support of his organisation's calendar reforms, which include plans for biennial World Cups.
He said the proposals were vital to give the football world outside of Europe hope: "We need to give hope to Africans so they don't need to cross the Mediterranean in order to find, maybe, a better life but more probably death in the sea. We need to give opportunities and we need to give dignity, not by giving charity but by allowing the rest of the world to participate."
But then he gives himself away by saying: "In Europe the World Cup is played twice a week, because the best players in the world play there". That's where he is hurting, seeing the economic power of UEFA, which is greater than FIFA's.
UEFA has regular income
Whether altruism is Infantino's motive is doubtful, given that he was behind the Super League project, which aimed to make the richest even richer. He only objected to the project when it fell through because neither the Germans nor the French signed up and fans in England rallied against it, but his involvement in the plot to get support for a 24-team World Cup is well known. The truth of the matter is that today FIFA only has one major income every four years, while UEFA has its Champions League every year, as well as the European Championship every four years.
FIFA wants more football
And that's what FIFA want: to turn the economic game that they are losing to UEFA around. Money is power. Infantino's plan is to have a three-in-one: a biennial World Cup, a Super League and a 24-team World Cup. Three ideas that may or may not be liked (personally I don't like any of the three) but have one thing in common: all three would squeeze more matches into the current overcrowded football schedule. Head of UEFA, Aleksander Ceferin, is now toying with the idea of inviting the Americans to the European Championship, creating serious competition to the World Cup, another idea I don't like. This is an ugly battle between two sides and one that could end in a fatal split.