FIFA president Gianni Infantino (Getty Images)
New Delhi: President Gianni Infantino has been at the helm of affairs of world football for close to 8 months now and like he promised, FIFA is turning over the pages. Today marks another such moment as the bosses of the game convene for the first ever for the Council meet in Zurich.
The Council which has replaced the previously tainted Executive Committee will be doing some brainstorming for the next two days. The governing body of football hasn’t been in the best of health over the last year and a half, which makes the decisions taken this week of prime importance to the image and welfare of football. The goodwill factor is yet to return.
On the Agenda
The Council, which is a team of 37 individuals including the President, will have a lot on their plate. For old timers there will be a sense of déjà vu when Infantino raises the matter of expanding the World Cup to 48 teams; it is a similar timeline to 1998 when the World Cup was expanded to 32 teams. The Council will have the recently expanded European Championship as a good point of reference in the matter.
There is clearly a lot of football to be played in the next couple of years, and all that takes a lot planning which needs to begin well in advance. The new version of the executive committee will be dealing with planning matters related to the Club World Cup, the World Cup, the Under -20 World Cup and the Under - 17 World Cup for both the genders.
President Infantino and company are also expected to look at matters related to Audit and Finance, and will have to look at faster ways of bringing errant FAs in line. After all, it is he who has put the need for reforms on top of the ‘to do’ list. Remember, Infantino who has scrapped the post meeting Press Conference has himself come under the scanner of an Ethics Committee probe.
What is in it for India?
The football fraternity of India will be keenly awaiting the press releases from this meeting as it is likely to bring more clarity on the way forward for the Under - 17 World Cup which will be held in the country in 2017. Regulations and draw procedures will be finalised for the tournament, which is India’s chance to make their presence felt in the world of football.
Infantino on a recent visit to India, for the launch of the logo of the same tournament, said there is room for improvement and this is well and truly India’s big chance.