GENEVA: FIFA president Gianni Infantino linked his plan for biennial World Cups on Wednesday to giving more hope to Africans who risk their lives crossing the sea to Europe.

In a speech to European lawmakers, Infantino said football was being dominated by the few who have everything and it needed to be more global and inclusive.

“We need to find ways to include the entire world, to give hope to Africans so that they don’t need to cross the Mediterranean in order to find, maybe, a better life but more probably death in the sea,” Infantino told the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe at Strasbourg, France.

He spoke on the day Spanish authorities said at least 18 people died and more than 300 were rescued from several boats trying to reach the Canary Islands from North Africa.

“We need to give dignity, not by giving charity but by allowing the rest of the world as well to participate,” Infantino told lawmakers at a session he attended with Arsne Wenger, FIFA’s director of global development.

FIFA and Wenger have been strongly resisted across European football since launching a formal proposal in September to organise men’s and women’s World Cups every two years instead of four.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2022

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