Thursday 11 August 2022, 13:00

FIFA President addresses delegates at CAF General Assembly

  • President Infantino focused on FIFA’s ongoing commitment to African football development

  • Mr Infantino also spoke about the importance of protecting international football

  • The 44th CAF General Assembly was taking place in Arusha, Tanzania

President Gianni Infantino has delivered the opening address at the CAF General Assembly, and reaffirmed FIFA’s ongoing commitment to developing football in Africa, increasing global competitiveness, protecting national team football and building on the successful collaboration to increase media rights revenues for all 54 Member Associations. The FIFA President was speaking at the 44th CAF General Assembly, and in addition to the positive messages on past development work, Mr Infantino also confirmed to delegates the continued increase in football development funds seen year-on-year since 2016, will continue further into 2023 and beyond. “All the money that you are investing in football projects is bearing its fruits, and we see it with the results of your teams on the pitch for men's and women’s football,” President Infantino told attendees gathered in Arusha, Tanzania.

“I remember before becoming President of FIFA in 2016 when we were debating and discussing about the future development programmes and together, we created FIFA Forward. The funds that each association was receiving were around USD 300,000 – 250,000-300,000 – per year. “We moved it to USD 1m and USD 1.5m, and as of next year to USD 2m per year. Seven times more than was the case only six years ago. Not because we made seven times more revenue – we are capable of distributing seven times more – but because we are working in a serious way, we want the money to go into football investment.” President Infantino continued: “Great projects done here in Tanzania with the Forward program, and in all African countries, and as a result instead of USD 70-80m which were invested in African football from FIFA’s side six years ago, as of next year we are investing almost USD 600m in a four-year cycle for the development of African Men’s and Women’s football.” The FIFA President also highlighted progressive collaboration initiatives, such as the show of solidarity in 2019 when all 54 Members of CAF agreed to centralise the media rights sales to broadcasting FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifying matches – and placed their trust in FIFA to partner them in that process.

A bold reform, the FIFA President revealed, that has not only increased transparency throughout the process, but also yielded far greater revenues than ever seen before – revenues which can now be reinvested back into football development across Africa. President Infantino said: “I can announce to you that for the FIFA World Cup 2018, which was commercialised in a different way, you had received USD 23 million. This time, you will receive USD 38 million for the same number of games.

"This is only possible, thanks to the collaboration – it is really a joint effort to promote football, to promote African football, to promote the passion, emotion, talent that you have on this continent and to promote it all over the world. So, we will continue to work altogether; we will continue to develop the game altogether, we will continue to invest in football altogether.” With the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ fast approaching, President Infantino also assured attendees in Arusha – and those watching on around the world – that guardianship and good governance of the national game remains at the forefront of all FIFA’s actions, plans and commitments. “National team football is the most important football that we have,” Mr Infantino said. “We have to protect national team football, and FIFA is standing with all of you to protect national team football, to protect the release of all the players for the national teams, in Africa and everywhere else in the world, because the players are proud to play for their national teams, and the countries are proud to see their players playing for their colours, for their flags, representing their country, representing their continent, representing their region in competitions, be it qualifiers, be it CAF competitions, or be it FIFA competitions.”

FIFA President Gianni Infantino pictured with the CAF Executive Committee in Tanzania

The FIFA President continued: “We’ll continue and we will fight for the protection of national teams because, if we protect national teams, we protect football globally, and this is our number-one task, and this must be very, very clear for everyone.” Finally, on the continued focus on increasing global competitiveness – a key element of the FIFA President’s Vision 2020-23 – Mr Infantino highlighted the importance of the expanding FIFA World Cup™ in 2026, and the already-expanded upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in 2023. “When it comes to the global stage, we have been increasing the number of participants as of the next World Cup 2026 from five to nine, or probably ten members from Africa,” Mr Infantino continued.

“The world will see double the number of African teams and players shining at its best stage: at the men’s World Cup. Similarly, for the women’s World Cup already as of next year, not three as it was in the past but at least four and potentially six African countries will be allowed and will be participating at that World Cup. “These are facts; these are not words. These are actions that we have put in place altogether: concrete, real actions to develop African football.”

FIFA President Gianni Infantino and CAF Preisdent Patrice Motsepe at the CAF General Assembly in Tanzania