Gianni Infantino was re-elected as FIFA president until 2027 after running unopposed at the body’s congress on Thursday.
The 52-year-old Swiss lawyer, who took over for the disgraced Sepp Blatter in 2016, was re-elected for a second term by delegates from the 211 member federations, just as he was four years ago.
“To all those who love me, and I know there are many, and to those who hate me, and I know there are a few: I love you all,” Infantino told delegates in Rwanda’s capital, where the voting system did not record the number of dissident voices.
While FIFA statutes currently limit a president to three four-year terms, Infantino has already laid the groundwork to stay until 2031, declaring in December that his first three years as president did not count as a full term.
Infantino, who vehemently defended Qatar’s World Cup hosting last year as the Gulf state’s treatment of migrant workers, women, and the LGBTQ community came under scrutiny, has presided over the expansion of the men’s and women’s World Cups as well as massive increases in FIFA revenue.
Lise Klaveness, president of the Norwegian Football Federation, has stated that she will not support Infantino and has proposed that the congress discuss “FIFA’s responsibilities to remedy human rights abuses” in relation to the Qatar World Cup and future tournaments.
However, Infantino’s opponents, who were mostly based in Europe, were unable to field a candidate to challenge the man who was once Michel Platini’s number two at UEFA.
“There is a lot to be looking forward to,” Infantino said as he turned thoughts to the next four years and declared the 2026 World Cup, the first edition to be enlarged to 48 teams, will be “the most inclusive World Cup ever.”