Status: 11/25/2022 5:28 p.m

    Can an association withdraw from FIFA? How long is Gianni Infantino still president? And why is there no opposing candidate? Questions and answers about the world association that has come under criticism.

    Can associations just leave FIFA?

    A national association wishing to withdraw from FIFA may do so. The exit must according to current FIFA statutes but submitted six months before the end of the year, so 2024 would be the first year FIFA could lose associations.

    Jesper Möller, President of Denmark’s association DBU, spoke publicly of leaving. They talked about it with other associations from Scandinavia, but no decision was made. A little later, the spokesman for the Danish association confirmed the dissatisfaction with the FIFA management, but called the reports about Denmark’s withdrawal from FIFA “Misunderstanding”. One thing is clear: the consequences of an exit would be great, but the benefit would initially not be.

    What would be the consequences of leaving?

    If a national association were to leave, it would, above all, no longer be able to take part in the World Championships. That would apply to the men as well as the women and youth teams.

    Detachment from the FIFA structures would cost the association in the respective country a lot of money, and FIFA would then not receive any donations from the high income from the men’s World Cup.

    Would world football be conceivable without FIFA?

    There are three world federations in boxing, in basketball European competitions take place outside of the federation structures, and something like this would also be theoretically conceivable in football.

    Another obstacle besides the money, however, is that FIFA’s organizational role is immense. For example, international player transfers, numerous competitions and the international match calendar with international match windows are regulated by FIFA.

    Above all, however, there is a lack of a broad international desire for a breakout from FIFA. Most of the FIFA members support President Infantino. The income has been increasing for years, from 2026 there will be 16 more World Cup participants – this largely ensures satisfaction worldwide.

    Can Infantino lose office in the 2023 election?

    That is now almost impossible. On March 30, 2022, FIFA called for the nomination of candidates for the FIFA Congress on March 16, 2023 in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, in accordance with its statutes. “All FIFA member associations are invited to propose candidates for the post of FIFA President according to the deadlines”, it was said. According to the statutes, the deadline ended four months before the congress, i.e. on November 16, 2022. No one was proposed – except Infantino.

    “There is only one candidate and we have to see if there is another candidate. Because there is still some time”said Denmark’s association president Möller eight days after the deadline. “We have to react now. And we feel that we really have to.” A realization that matured late – and according to the statutes probably too late. Infantino is already claiming victory, saying in a statement: “I am humbled and honored to serve the global football community over the next four years.”

    In addition to Denmark, the German Football Association (DFB) and Norway do not want to support Infantino in his re-election. After the posse about the “One Love” captain’s armband, DFB President Bernd Neuendorf said “in opposition” to stand by FIFA. These three associations are therefore absolute exceptions. The DFB does not present an opponent to Infantino either.

    FIFA currently has 211 members, according to the world association, more than 200 of them have announced their support for Infantino. Even in South America and in parts of UEFA – both of whom were Infantino’s opponents on many issues – there is no contradiction.

    Under pressure from FIFA, major European football associations decide against wearing the “One Love” captain’s armband. FIFA President Gianni Infantino has thus won a battle in the power struggle against Europe.

    Why is nobody running against Infantino?

    One reason is the lack of a chance given the broad support for Infantino. “It would have been pointless to send an opponent into the race who didn’t stand a chance.”, said DFB President Bernd Neuendorf. Infantino’s support is known. With the official withdrawal of support, however, the DFB wanted to set an example, according to Neuendorf. There are no more signs than this, not even in the form of a person who can be set up against Infantino.

    Norway’s association president Lise Klaveness expressed her regret that there was no opponent. The Norwegian Federation (NFF) have “many tries” attempted to persuade someone to run – but they all declined, she said. She didn’t want to either. Another reason for the reluctance to run against him: In the medium term, the end of Infantino’s time as President of FIFA is in sight.

    DFB President Bernd Neuendorf (right) with FIFA President Gianni Infantino

    How long can Infantino remain President?

    According to the current status, 2027 is the end. The current statutes, which Infantino helped draft after taking office in 2016, provide for a maximum of three terms for the president. From 2016 Infantino led the election period of the resigned Sepp Blatter to the end, in 2019 he was re-elected for four years and that should now happen again in 2023 to 2027. Then, according to the current rules, it’s over.

    By 2027, interested associations would have the opportunity to develop a candidate in order to achieve a change in sports policy as well as a change in personnel. But it takes a lot of persuasion to do that. When Norway’s association president Klaveness courageously and openly addressed the grievances surrounding the World Cup in Qatar at the FIFA Congress 2022 in Doha/Qatar, she received a contradiction that seemed to be ordered. At the time, not a single association agreed with her from the plenary session, not even the DFB or Denmark.

    The FIFA headquarters in Zurich – Infantino will probably be in charge here until 2027.

    Before the World Cup, Klaveness told WDR in relation to FIFA that “we need global organizations”which, however, would have to be ethically correct. “But what is it? What is the common ethical standard for Somalia? For Norway? For Canada? It’s difficult.”

    Has Infantino then disappeared from the scene in football in 2027?

    When he is likely re-elected in 2023, Infantino will be 53 years old. If he leaves office at 57, he could remain linked to football as a businessman. In recent years he has pushed many projects forward: he failed with the two-year rhythm of the World Cup and the global Nations League, but reached the resolution of the extended Club World Cup with 24 teams. It has never been held because of Corona.

    We were talking about some projects according to research by “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and WDR but also the sale of numerous rights to these competitions to external investors, backed by a consortium from Saudi Arabia. Infantino has been a frequent visitor to Riyadh in recent years – so he could possibly continue to make a business appearance in football. Saudi Arabia, together with Egypt and Greece, hopes to be awarded the 2030 World Cup during Infantino’s upcoming term.

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