By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan-YT
World Football’s Governing Institution FIFA, has announced the re-election of Swiss-Italian Gianni Infantino on Thursday 16th March 2023. The election which was confirmed on the Official FIFA website announced that “Gianni Infantino receives mandate to begin second term as FIFA President during the 73rd FIFA Congress”. However, prominent news media France 24 noted that Infantino was first elected in 2016 after succeeding the disgraced Sepp Blatter and has now been elected for his third term.
This article looks at the terms of the FIFA President and why he may serve for “four terms” including one three-year term until 2031 when he will not be eligible to run for another term. The 73rd FIFA Congress took place in Kigali Rwanda and was graced by President Kagame.
Running unopposed for the second time in 2023, the current FIFA President won without any vote being cast just as he did in 2019 for his “first full term“. Our research shows that the mandate of the FIFA President is capped at three four-year terms and that Mr Infantino won his first term in 2016 which ended in 2019. This meant that his first term was only three years instead of four.
The first time Mr Infantino was elected President was in 2016 during an extraordinary session following the resignation of disgraced FIFA President Sepp Blatter who was banned as a result of the 2015 FIFA corruption case.
FIFA runs a cumbersome and unique elections process where candidates must present their nominations with the backing of at least five national federations. The list of candidates in the 2016 elections included five eligible candidates, most notably Mr Gianni Infantino and Prince Ali Al Hussein and excluded three candidates in Michel Platini, Musa Bility and David Nakhid.
After seeing off his competitors in a second round of elections, Infantino won his first term, however, the FIFA website reports that Mr Infantino won his “first full term” in 2019. The presser noted that “the ninth president in the history of [FIFA] was first elected at an Extraordinary Congress in February 2016 and now starts his first full four-year term of office after running unopposed and being elected by acclamation by FIFA’s 211 member associations”.
Mr Infantino repeated the feat on Thursday 16th March 2023 winning his third term after another call for election issued by the FIFA Council received only one candidature in Mr Gianni Infantino. Also in December 2022 Sky News reported that “the FIFA ruling body chaired by Mr Infantino confirmed today he was only now serving his first term as president, disregarding his first three years in power as counting towards term limits”.
Sky News also highlights that the FIFA President earns “around $3m (£2.46m) annually”, meaning that Mr Infantino can earn over $12 million in a four-year term. During a FIFA press conference in Qatar in December 2022, Mr Infantino made this clarification: “with regards to my term of office. So currently I am in my first term of office and on March 16 when there is the election for the FIFA president in Kigali in Rwanda, my second term of office as FIFA president will start. There is a limit of three terms.”
This means that after Mr Infantino completes his current term (2023 to 2027) he could run again for office until 2031. In total Mr Infantino has been serving as the President of FIFA from 2016 to date which includes one three-year term and one four-year term which ended in 2023. Mr Infantino is now on his third term however, FIFA has only recognised his second and thrid term and decided to ignore his first term when Mr Infantino served for three years instead of four.
- 1st Term – 2016 to 2019
- 2nd Term – 2019 to 2023
- 3rd Term – 2023 to 2027