FIFA presidential candidate suggests 40-team World Cup, co-hosting

Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:57am EST
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By Brian Homewood

BERNE (Reuters) - FIFA presidential candidate Gianni Infantino suggested expanding the World Cup to 40 teams and following the example of the European championship by spreading it across several countries to share out the "honour and benefits" of the tournament.

The Swiss, general secretary of European soccer body UEFA, backed proposed reforms for soccer's scandal-plagued world governing body which included term limits for the president and leading officials and public disclosure of their remuneration.

Laying out his plans for the Feb.26 election, he also proposed that FIFA should aim to distribute half of its revenues directly to its 209 member associations to be spent on the development of the sport.

Infantino, a 45-year-old multilingual lawyer, is one of five candidates standing in an election taking place amid the worst crisis in FIFA's history.

Forty-one individuals, many of them national association presidents, and entities have been indicted in the United States and FIFA's own ethics committee has banned leading officials including president Sepp Blatter, barred for eight years.

Infantino's reform proposals for cleaning up FIFA were broadly similar to those that will be put before the Congress on Feb. 26.

Infantino, who was on the committee which helped draw up proposed reforms for FIFA last year, backed a proposal to restrict the FIFA president and executive committee members to three four-year terms each, which is considered a key element.

Blatter had been president for 17 years when he was banned in December.   Continued...

Gianni Infantino attends a news conference after a meeting of UEFA's executive committee, on the eve of the draw of the Euro 2016 finals, in Paris, France, December 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Benoit Tessier