Gianni Infantio was officially elected as the next president of FIFA on February 26. Infantino has some very tough shoes to fill, following in the footsteps of president Sepp Blatter who has been suspended for his role in the numerous corruption schemes that have rocked FIFA in the past few years. Public opinion of FIFA is extremely low, last year a poll of more than 35,000 fans from 30 countries prepared by transparency international found that 69.2 of soccer fans had no confidence in the organization. Infantino will have many goals throughout his term but first and foremost he must perform some image rehabilitation and damage control for the organization which has lost credibility throughout the world. Infantino has already begun efforts towards this rehabilitation process with the implementation of reforms introducing more separation of powers and adding more accountability to the new 36 member FIFA-council. A key measure of Infantino’s progress and ability to enact real change will be to examine whether Infantino is actually able to implement these new changes into the running of FIFA (Homewood).
In addition to fighting the corruption and image problems that FIFA is facing Infantino will also have to deal with the massive deficit that the governing body is facing. Infantino will need to find the right people to appoint who can help FIFA to organize its finances and begun to get on the right track to recouping these losses and changing the momentum swing of sponsor loss and lawyer costs as a result of the corruption scandals. All signs point to the ability of Infantino to perform this job. He has said all the right things and demonstrated a genuine interest in fixing the problems FIFA faces and bringing the positive image back to the organization. However, public skepticism regarding the corruption level of FIFA as with any large organization that has the amount of power FIFA does means that he will have a tough road ahead of him.
Homewood, Brian. “Infantino Opens FIFA Museum, Says Reforms Are Priority.” Yahoo Sports. 28 Feb. 2016. Web. <http://sports.yahoo.com/news/infantino-opens-fifa-museum-first-official-act-141934339–sow.html>.
Transparency International. Football Addicts. 4 in 5 Football Fans Say Blatter Should Not Stand for FIFA President: Poll of 35,000 in 30 Countries. Transparency International. 26 May 2015. <http://www.transparency.org/news/pressrelease/4_in_5_football_fans_say_blatter_should_not_stand_for_fifa_president_poll_o>