Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 11th 2015 Contents bers. But he insisted he would not stand
aside for Platini if the former France captain
later wins any appeals.
"I take it seriously which means if I am
elected on February 26 in case Michel cannot
run, then I will be the FIFA president and
I will act as FIFA president," Infantino said.
"There is no stepping down or whatever."
Infantino s UEFA is not universally popular
across the continent. Fans of both Barcelona
and Manchester City have booed the Cham-
pions League anthem in recent weeks in
protest against UEFA sanctions. City is facing
a UEFA punishment over the jeering.
"When you are in charge of a governing
body like UEFA it s of course very difficult
to be popular," Infantino said. "If you think
fans in general have the opportunity and
right to give raise to their opinions in the
way they do best. They are booing their team,
they are booing opponents, they are booing
the UEFA Champions League anthem.
"We have to not be offended by it, live
with it and to make things always better and
try to prove and show people what is down
in our heart is football basically. I am looking
forward very positively and I hope I can con-
vince as many people as possible." (AP)
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, November 11, 2015
LONDON---The World Cup could be expanded by
eight teams to 40 if Gianni Infantino is elected FIFA
Infantino, the face of European competition draws
as UEFA s general secretary, discussed his first plans
to transform FIFA in an interview with The Associated
Press after making a surprising late decision to enter
European football scrambled to find a candidate as
a substitute for Infantino s boss, Michel Platini, after
the UEFA president was provisionally suspended by
Platini is at risk of a long ban once the ethics probe
into a 2011 payment from FIFA has been completed,
which would make him ineligible for the February 26
election to replace suspended president Sepp Blatter.
Infantino has worked in Platini s shadow, imple-
menting the president s vision from Financial Fair Play
for clubs to expanding the European Championship
from 16 to 24 teams starting with next year s tour-
nament. If Infantino gets his way, the World Cup also
could have to find space for an additional eight teams.
"I believe in expanding the World Cup based on
the experience we had in Europe with the Euros,"
Infantino said by telephone from the campaign trail
in South America. "Look at qualifiers now where some
teams who have never qualified did and some teams
which have always qualified didn t make it.
"So it created a completely new dynamic in the
qualification. It created new enthusiasm. If you are
serious about developing football it must involve more
associations in the best football event in the world:
The World Cup."
It would be too soon to swell to 40 teams in Russia
in 2018 given that qualifying has already started and
it could be problematic for Qatar since the plan is to
squeeze the 64 games into 28 days to cope with staging
the tournament in November-December 2022 rather
than the traditional June-July slot.
But the proposal could help Infantino collect votes
from some of the smaller FIFA members outside
"I don t have a European vision," he said. "I have
a vision for football."
The 45-year-old Infantino, a lawyer who has been
UEFA s general secretary since 2009, was endorsed
by the organisation s executive committee to stand
for FIFA president only hours before the candidate
deadline on October 26.
"We made a draw and my name came out," he
Infantino does not hide that he never previously
publicly expressed any desire to run the global game
as it recovers from a corruption crisis which had seen
Blatter announce plans to quit even before he was
suspended along with Platini last month.
Infantino s candidacy gave the impression of UEFA
being dissatisfied with the other options: Asian football
leader Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain,
Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, former South
African politician Tokyo Sexwale, Liberian federation
president Musa Bility and former FIFA official Jerome
"It s not a question about other candidates, it s a
question about Europe being present and making its
voice heard," Infantino said. "When you have a function
in football like mine with responsibilities you have to
assume responsibility when times are difficult, to put
yourself forward in order to try to change this and
bring messages forward."
Those messages are not just Platini s rehashed with
a different name on the manifesto, Infantino main-
"I hope all of them he will agree with, but maybe
on some of them we are not exactly the same---some
of the priorities are maybe not exactly the same,"
Infantino said. "I have been working with Michel
Platini for the last nine years. We share many views
and many ideas. It s obvious we have the same phi-
losophy on many things but I am a candidate on my
own, I will have ideas on my own."
Infantino would end his campaign if Platini is cleared
to run before the February 26 vote by FIFA s 209 mem-
UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino
FIFA hopeful Infantino plans 40-team World Cup
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