Infantino expands on proposals for African game

FIFA President Gianni Infantino gestures as he speaks during a public debate with members of the Association of International Sports Press (AIPS) as part of its annual congress on February 3, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Attila KISBENEDEK / AFP)

President of World football governing body [ FIFA], Gianni Infantino, has elaborated on his proposed drastic overhaul of the African game.

The FIFA boss by stated that the creation of an African Super League could generate an estimated $200m in revenue and change the financial status of football on the continent on Monday.

Infantino who met with the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) in Budapest, was elaborating on his weekend proposals to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for a drastic overhaul of the African game.

“We have had some serious problems in Africa and it has to change. It has to change the way of how to do business, it has to take on board the basic elements of good governance”.

“There needs to be proper competition infrastructure. I think it is fair to say that the competitions in Africa are 30-to-40 times less successful than in Europe,” Infantino said.

The former General Secretary of UEFA, who did not explain how he arrived at the $200m figure or how such a club competition would work, however, expanded on his thoughts about future Africa Cup of Nations.

“I was always told the Africa Cup of Nations is played every two years because it ensured the building of new infrastructure plus it generated revenues”.

“But when you look at the last decades, I don’t see a proliferation of top-class African stadiums and in terms of revenue we are miles away.

“If it is played every four years it makes it more exclusive, it presents a better profile.

“It’s the same for clubs. There are some clubs with literally tens of millions of supporters and they play competitions where actually the owners have to pay in money to be able to compete.” Infantino told the gathering of sports journalists.

Infantino said the world soccer ruling body is in position now to help guarantee infrastructure projects in Africa and the need to fix refereeing issues on the continent

“This is our proposal but we have to see whether African football accepts it.”

“You cannot have situations where football association presidents are the ones deciding who is to referee major matches in a national league,” Infantino said.

“This cannot be. This must be the work of technocrats and experts.

“The elite panel will be performance driven. You work well, you stay on the panel, you perform poorly and you are out,” he added.

Infantino met with African football chiefs In Rabat over the weekend, and outlined a plan concentrated around infrastructure investment and professionalization of refereeing and improved competitions for Africa that will make it one of the top 10 football competitions in the world.

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