(Kigali) A football World Cup with 104 matches from 2026, a planetary tournament of 32 clubs: re-elected Thursday for four years at the head of FIFA, the Italian-Swiss Gianni Infantino, in office since 2016, intends to inaugurate an era of all superlatives, inflating competitions and revenues.

“We need more, and not less, global competitions to develop football,” summed up the 52-year-old leader at the 73rd Congress of the body in Kigali, before being renewed by acclamation by the delegates of the 211 member federations, alone in the running as in its previous election in 2019.

If this system does not make it possible to count the dissonant voices, the Norwegian, German and Swedish federations have each made it known that they had not supported it, Norway also demanding a death toll on the construction sites of the World Cup-2022 at Qatar and their compensation, accepted by the court.

But the handful of rebellious states, which blame Infantino for a lack of dialogue and expect more commitments on human rights, could not agree on a competing candidacy. And the former confidant of Michel Platini at UEFA (2009-2016), unexpectedly elected head of FIFA in February 2016 after a cascade of scandals, is guaranteed to remain at the top of world football at least until in 2027.

While the Zurich organization’s bylaws now call for three terms of up to four years, Infantino has already paved the way to stay until 2031, declaring in mid-December that he was “still in his first term” since his 2016-2019 lease was incomplete.

The horizon seems clear for the smooth-skinned lawyer, who again proclaimed on Thursday that he wanted to “make football truly global”, and stands as a bulwark against the sporting and economic hegemony of European football thanks to FIFA’s development programs , boosted by its growing revenues.

Like four years ago, it can show a solid financial balance sheet, with an 18% increase in revenue and 45% increase in reserves over the 2019-22 cycle compared to the previous one, which allows FIFA to further increase its subsidies to confederations and federations, which is the key to its redistributive system as well as to its electoral system.

Because the organization grants the same amounts to Trinidad and Tobago, Saint-Kitts-and-Nevis, Bermuda and Papua New Guinea as to Brazil or Germany, each of these federations also having a voice in Congress.

As long as the president pleases the 35 Central American associations or the 54 African federations, he can afford to offend the powerful European nations: by considering a biennial World Cup before giving it up last year, or by banning a handful of selections from wearing an inclusive “One Love” armband during the Qatari World Cup, to proclaim their commitment to LGBT rights.

On the governance side, his last mandate was marked by a vast reform of transfers, by the institution of maternity leave for professional players as well as by more protective rules of disciplinary procedure for victims of sexual violence.

The main projects for the next few years have already been approved: starting with the passage of the Women’s World Cup from 24 to 32 teams this year, with an allocation increased by 300% to 150 million dollars, and the World Cup male from 32 to 48 teams from the 2026 edition, shared between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

In addition, FIFA decided on December 16 to expand its Club World Cup from an annual format with seven teams to a quadrennial competition with 32 teams from the summer of 2025. A project that its boss has been trying to bring to fruition since years to compete in the lucrative UEFA Champions League.

But this race for expansion could well awaken the fractures of football: Wednesday evening the World League Forum (WLF), bringing together around forty championships, denounced decisions “without consultation”, which further weigh down “an already overloaded calendar, and disregard the impact on domestic league competitiveness and player health.”

The WLF, like its European League counterpart bringing together the European championships, will “decide” on the “most appropriate” responses, leaving the threat of a legal response hanging over.