FIFA President calls for unity in address to the UEFA Congress

  • Gianni Infantino says that FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ will be a “celebration of unity”

  • Mr Infantino thanks UEFA for constructive dialogue over the future of football

Gianni Infantino called for unity in his address to the 46th UEFA Congress and thanked European football’s governing body for its constructive contributions to discussions over the future of football. “Football unites,” said the FIFA President. “I’m sure that all of us here together, united, we can bring European and global football forward and we can also make our little contribution for society.”

The FIFA President said the new formats for men’s club competitions announced on Tuesday was an example of how UEFA was constantly developing and moving forward – something he conceded that FIFA itself had not always done. “This is an opportunity that – I say this as FIFA President – probably, FIFA missed in the past decades and that we’re trying, of course, not to miss anymore by thinking about how we can make football better,” he said.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - MAY 11: Gift exchange between FIFA President Gianni Infantino and UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin during the 46th UEFA Ordinary Congress at the Messe Wien on May 11, 2022, in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Kristian Skeie - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Referring to discussions over the future of football, he said: “I would like to thank, in addition to congratulating, UEFA and the UEFA President for the constant discussion, dialogue, constructively trying to reach solutions which will help world football, will protect, not only protect but develop and boost further European and global football.” He said that the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar would be “a celebration of unity as well, of bringing the world together” as well as a “truly unique” World Cup.

The FIFA President praised the host nation´s great progress in improving human and workers’ rights.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino delivers his speech during the 46th UEFA Congress and Executive Committee meeting at the Messe Wien Exhibition Congress Center in Vienna, Austria on May 11, 2022. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP) (Photo by JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images)

“It is important to underline the progress which has been made in terms of human rights, in terms of workers’ rights with the abolishment of the kafala system, with the minimum wages for workers with measures to protect the health of workers," he said. “This progress is undeniable, it is excellent, it’s going in the right direction.” However, he said these measures had to be put into practice. “I can assure you that we are there - I am personally there as well - calling and appealing to the authorities, to the Minister of Labour, to the government to not only have implemented this new legislation but also to effectively and efficiently enforce it.”

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - MAY 11: FIFA President Gianni Infantino during the 46th UEFA Ordinary Congress at the Messe Wien on May 11, 2022, in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Kristian Skeie - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

He pointed to recent record-breaking attendances at women’s football matches in Spain and France, describing them as “definitely a great, great sign for the future.” Repeating his appeal for peace in Ukraine, Gianni Infantino said that football cannot solve the world’s problems – but that it can help. “We need peace, and when peace will come, football has to be there and will be there at the forefront, to bring again this unity and togetherness, to bring the people again together: the boys and the girls, the young and the old, because that’s what football does,” he said.