President Infantino reiterates FIFA’s commitment to African football

  • Infantino promises to give African football support it “deserves”

  • FIFA President highlights “unequalled” potential of African football

  • IMC & Pan-African Super League on agenda at CAF Extraordinary General Assembly

Speaking during the 13th CAF Extraordinary General Assembly in Cairo, FIFA President Gianni Infantino assured delegates that FIFA will continue to support the continent as a priority and highlighted the crucial role African football will play in the future of the game.

Last year, the FIFA President promised to "project African football to the top of the world" and laid out plans for FIFA and CAF to raise a minimum fund of USD1bn to make solid and sustainable infrastructural investments in Africa.

Speaking in Cairo on Friday, the FIFA President emphasized the importance of these investments.

“We are more committed than ever to making sure that we obtain these 1 billion U.S. dollars for the investment in infrastructure in African football, because this is what African football deserves,” the FIFA President said.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino and CAF President Patrice Motsepe during the CAF General Assembly held in Cairo, Egypt on 26 November 2021 ©Fareed Kotb/BackpagePix

“This is really the year of collaboration, of partnership, of unity between us. We have committed to that; we have committed to invest in infrastructure in Africa.”

Alongside such investments in infrastructure, FIFA understands the importance of more competitive, regular football for the development of football on the pitch in Africa.

Two topics up for discussion at the CAF Extraordinary General Assembly in Cairo were the consultation on the International Match Calendar (IMC) and a proposed Pan-African Super League.

Arsène Wenger, Chief of Global Football Development, was also in attendance to discuss the IMC and the possibility of a biennial FIFA World Cup. Wenger wants to see African teams playing at a higher level, more often.

Arsene Wenger speaks at the CAF Extraordinary General Assembly in Cairo

“It is important that you have access to top level competitions, that Africa has, more often, the access to compete at the top level. It is a huge contributor to improvement,” said Wenger.

“I defend this project because it is to make football better and more competitive.”

The FIFA President spoke about the particular importance of consultation with African stakeholders due to the youthful make-up of the continent.

“We need to protect football, and we need to make sure that football remains relevant for our young generation. And I would say particularly in a continent like Africa, where 40% of the population is below 15 years of age,” he said.

“We need to think about the future, we need to think about how we can make our sport more enthusing, more relevant for the young generation, which today has many other things to focus on.”

The expansion of the FIFA World Cup to 48 teams from 2026 mean that nine African nations will be represented at the finals, compared to five who will feature at FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. The FIFA President said it was important that the 54 African MAs’ voices were heard on any discussions around the Future of Football. “We need to keep the door open. We need to give hope, we need to give opportunities to the entire world,” he said. “I want to give to all of you not only the possibility to come to a FIFA Congress and press a button and vote yes or no to what is presented to you, but I want to give all of you the opportunity to speak, to have a voice. Everyone in the world will have to listen to your voice before taking any decision.”

The FIFA President also reiterated FIFA’s support for a possible new club competition, the Pan-African Super League. “Count on the full support of FIFA, of course, when developing club competitions and a Pan-African Super League for the future of African football” he said.

The CAF Extraordinary General Assembly comes off the back of a highly successful inaugural CAF Women’s Champions League tournament in Cairo.

South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies were crowned the first ever champions, beating Ghana’s Hasaacas Ladies in the final.