Friday 31 March 2023, 03:00

FIFA President congratulates South American football at CONMEBOL Congress

  • Gianni Infantino addressed 76th CONMEBOL Congress in Paraguay

  • FIFA President congratulated Argentina and remembered Pelé during address

  • CONMEBOL’s investments and redistribution of resources highlighted in speech

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has congratulated South American football for its achievements on and off the pitch in his address to the 76th CONMEBOL Congress, held at the CONMEBOL headquarters in Luque on the outskirts of Asunción.

The FIFA President also praised CONMEBOL for the work it has done over the past few years in increasing revenue and organising competitions.

Gianni Infantino started his address by congratulating Argentina on winning the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ and remembering Brazilian legend Pelé who passed away on 29 December 2022 at the age of 82. “He may have left us physically, but the King is immortal, he will always be in our hearts, because he did something very few have been able to do: he made many, many people fall in love with football,” said Gianni Infantino.

FIFA's president Gianni Infantino speaks during Conmebol's 76th Ordinary Congress

He then praised CONMEBOL's performance. "We've seen in (CONMEBOL President) Alejandro Domínguez's speech, that CONMEBOL has done a superb job in recent years, with important investments, with redistribution, and with the organisation of competitions," he said. “I congratulate you for all this work that shows results, not only in the sport, with Argentina winning the World Cup….. but also with the movement and growth we need to have.”

Gianni Infantino remembered that, since he was elected FIFA President in 2016, there had been a seven-fold increase the amount of funds that FIFA makes available to member associations for developing football through the Forward programme. “We know that we have to do more,” he said. “This money has to be invested to provide opportunities ..….. for our youngsters, young men and women.”

He then talked about the reforms to the transfer system such as new rules for agents and the establishment of a FIFA Clearing House, which came into operation in November. Among other things, this will help ensure that clubs which develop young players who then move abroad will receive the training compensation to which they are entitled.

Even in the first month of operation, South American clubs had already started receiving significantly more in training compensation, Mr Infantino said. “These are only the first steps of a system that should provide us with more transparency, and more cash flows to invest in developing players and in youngsters, " he said.

He concluded: “Our role and task as presidents and directors is to try, to unite, to lead, and work together for the sake of football in South America and the entire world.”