Giovanni Vincenzo Infantino (Italian pronunciation: [dʒoˈvanni vinˈtʃɛntso ˈdʒanni iɱfanˈtiːno]; born 23 March 1970) is an Italian-Swiss football administrator[2] and the president of FIFA since February 2016. He was re-elected in June 2019 and in March 2023.[3] In January 2020, he was also elected a member of the International Olympic Committee.[4]

Gianni Infantino
Infantino in 2024.
9th President of FIFA
Assumed office
26 February 2016
Vice PresidentÁngel María Villar
David Chung
Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa
Preceded byIssa Hayatou (acting)
Sepp Blatter
Personal details
Giovanni Vincenzo Infantino

(1970-03-23) 23 March 1970 (age 54)[1]
Brig, Switzerland
NationalitySwiss, Italian
SpouseLeena Al Ashqar
Alma materUniversity of Fribourg
Awards Order of Friendship
Star of Service

As President of FIFA, he oversaw the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, which he described as "the best World Cup ever" and for which he accepted Order of Friendship medal given to him by Vladimir Putin. He oversaw the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar during which time he defended or minimized controversies surrounding Qatar's human rights record, again describing it as "the best World Cup ever."[5] He played a key role in the selection of Saudi Arabia as host of the 2034 FIFA World Cup, as he advocated for a Saudi bid and restricted the hosting eligibility, which reduced the number of potential competing bids.[6]

Early life and education


Infantino was born on 23 March 1970[2] in Brig, Switzerland.[7] He is a son of Italian immigrant parents from Calabria and Lombardy in Switzerland and has the citizenship of both countries.[8][2] He studied law at the University of Fribourg.[9] He speaks French, German and Italian as his first languages, and also speaks Arabic, English, Portuguese and Spanish.[7]



Infantino worked as the Secretary General of the International Center for Sports Studies (CIES) at the University of Neuchâtel.[2][when?]



Infantino started working with UEFA in August 2000 and was appointed as the Director of UEFA's Legal Affairs and Club Licensing Division in January 2004. He became Deputy General Secretary of UEFA in 2007 and Secretary General of UEFA in October 2009.[2][10] During his time there, UEFA introduced Financial Fair Play and improved commercial support to smaller national associations.[10]

He oversaw the expansion of UEFA Euro 2016 to 24 teams[11] and played a role in the conception of the UEFA Nations League and the UEFA Euro 2020, which was intended to take place in 13 European nations before the number was reduced to 11.[12]

In 2015, the Greek government decided to introduce a new sports law in response to the recent scandal and acts of violence and corruption mainly in Greek football. Gianni Infantino, as UEFA's general secretary, led the negotiations with the Greek government and supported the Hellenic Football Federation's warning to Greece that it faced suspension from international football for government interference.[13][14]


Infantino with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 68th FIFA Congress, 13 June 2018
Infantino with Juan Carlos Varela, Mohammad bin Salman and Nicolas Sarkozy at the FIFA World Cup in Russia, 14 June 2018
Infantino with US President Donald Trump in 2019

Infantino was a member of FIFA's Reform Committee.[15] On 26 October 2015, he received the backing of the UEFA Executive Committee to stand for the position of president in the 2016 FIFA Extraordinary Congress. On the same day, he confirmed his candidacy and submitted the required declarations of support.[16] He promised to expand the FIFA World Cup to forty teams.[17]

On 26 February 2016, he was elected FIFA President for a period of three years.[18] Infantino, who holds dual Swiss and Italian citizenship through his parents, became the first Italian to hold the Presidency of FIFA.

In 2017, Infantino criticized the United States travel ban on several Muslim-majority nations. He said "When it comes to FIFA competitions, any team, including the supporters and officials of that team, who qualify for a World Cup need to have access to the country, otherwise there is no World Cup. That is obvious."[19]

2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia


In 2019 Infantino accepted the Order of Friendship medal given to him by Vladimir Putin, following the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[20][21] He described the 2018 World Cup as the "best World Cup ever."[20]

Panama Papers


Infantino was implicated in the FIFA corruption scandal in documents released in the 2016 Panama Papers. They show that UEFA undertook deals with indicted figures where previously they had denied any relationship.[22] Infantino has stated he is "dismayed" at the reports and that he has never personally dealt with the parties involved.[23]

Women's rights


In Iran, after the 1979 Islamic revolution, women had been banned from stadiums when men's teams are playing.[24] Infantino repeatedly warned Iranian football federation and Islamic Republic of Iran authorities about Iranian women's rights.[25] On 8 September 2019, Sahar Khodayari self-immolated after being arrested for trying to enter a stadium.[26]

Our position is clear and firm. Women have to be allowed into football stadiums in Iran. Now is the moment to change things.[27] Infantino, September 2019

Following that incident, FIFA assured Iranian women that they would be able to attend stadiums starting from October 2019.[26] On 10 October 2019, more than 3,500 women attended the Azadi Stadium for a World Cup qualifier against Cambodia.[28]

2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar


With the holding of the World Cup in Qatar, the issue of migrant workers' rights attracted attention. Qatar has been accused of unpaid wages, imposing excessive working hours, illegal recruitment, and the deaths of workers who helped build Qatar stadiums.[29] When questioned about abuses suffered by migrant workers involved in preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Infantino said that migrant workers were given work and pay and were proud to contribute to constructing the stadiums.[30] The tournament has been condemned by human rights group Amnesty International, who have alleged that workers were subject to forced labor.[31] On 19 November 2022, due to backlash against the way migrant workers were treated while making stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, he declared he felt Qatari, Arab, African, gay, disabled and like a migrant worker.[32] On November 19, 2022, just before the start of the World Cup, Infantino charged Western countries with "hypocrisy" for criticizing Qatar on moral grounds.[33] He told reporters during an hour-long monologue, "What we Europeans have been doing for the last 3,000 years, we should be apologizing for the next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons."[34] Infantino also used the speech to accuse Western companies operating in Qatar of hypocrisy for profiting while not discussing the rights of migrant workers with Qatari authorities.[35] Norwegian national team coach Ståle Solbakken responded to Infantino's outburst by saying that Infantino is not fit to teach anyone about morals and ethics, and that Infantino is neither a great sports leader nor a great historian.[36]

2034 FIFA World Cup in Saudi Arabia


On 31 October 2023, Infantino announced that Saudi Arabia would host the 2034 FIFA World Cup. FIFA restricted the hosting eligibility to Asia or Oceania after it made the decision to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup on three continents (Africa, Europe and South America) alongside the restriction of North America following the 2026 FIFA World Cup. This paved the path for Saudi Arabia to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup by substantially reducing potential competing host bids.[37]

Infantino has a close relationship with the Saudi regime.[6] He has frequently promoted Saudi sporting events on social media and frequently appeared alongside Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman.[6] He engaged in private diplomacy on Saudi Arabia's behalf, as he explored whether Greece and Egypt would be willing to partner with Saudi Arabia to host the 2030 World Cup. When Spain, Portugal and Morocco announced that they would bid together for the 2030 World Cup, the Saudis considered it unlikely that the bid could be beaten. Thus, the Saudis backed out of bidding for 2030.[6]

FIFA subsequently made two moves that the New York Times described as "curious", as FIFA announced that the first three games of the 2030 FIFA World Cup would be played in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay while the rest would be played in Spain, Portugal and Morocco. This decision ruled Europe, Africa and South America out as potential bidders for the 2034 FIFA World Cup, and meant that the only potential bidders could be move from Asia or Oceania. FIFA also unexpectedly sped up the bidding process for the World Cup, giving only 25 days for interested nations to express their intent to host. Within minutes, Saudi Arabia announced that it wanted to host, and within hours, the head of the Asian Football Confederation supported the Saudi bid.[6] Infantino had also urged the AFC to fully support and unite around the Saudi bid, discouraging other AFC members from submitting their own bids.[38]

FIFA ethics investigations


In July 2016, Infantino was suspected to have broken the FIFA code of ethics and was interviewed by the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee.[39]

The investigation was focused on three areas: "several flights taken by Mr Infantino during the first months of his presidency, human resources matters related to hiring processes in the president's office, and Mr Infantino's refusal to sign the contract specifying his employment relationship with FIFA".[40]

Even though a document was leaked which showed illegitimate spending of funds by FIFA[39] the matter concerning expenses and governance was not investigated.[40] The document revealed that Infantino had billed FIFA for personal expenses such as £8,795 for mattresses at his home, £6,829 for a stepper exercise machine, £1,086 for a tuxedo, £677 on flowers and £132 on personal laundry. In addition to that he billed the FIFA governing body for an external driver for his family and advisors while he was away.[39]

When Infantino accepted special treatment by the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts Russia and Qatar, the question of a potential conflict of interest was raised. The hosts had organized private jets for Infantino and his staff related to visits in Russia and Qatar.[39] The investigatory chamber was of the opinion that no violation had occurred. In addition to that, the chamber found that "human resources matters, as well as Mr. Infantino's conduct with regard to his contract with FIFA, if at all, constituted internal compliance issues rather than an ethical matter."[40]

While the investigatory chamber discharged Infantino, this did not stop criticism. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of FC Bayern Munich, criticized Infantino for not fulfilling his promises regarding transparency, democracy and governance. "So far this has not succeeded in my eyes," he complained.[41]

In July 2020 further allegations arose when Infantino was accused of having a secret meeting with Michael Lauber [de], the Attorney General of Switzerland. Lauber offered to resign after a court said he covered up the meeting and lied to supervisors during an investigation by his office into corruption surrounding FIFA. Infantino responded to the allegation by defending himself claiming "To meet with the attorney general of Switzerland is perfectly legitimate and it's perfectly legal. It's no violation of anything."[42]

Personal life


Infantino is married to Lebanese Leena Al Ashqar; the couple have four children.[7] Since October 2021, he also spends time in Doha, Qatar, where two of his children go to school.[43] The move left the former FIFA president Sepp Blatter wondering if the FIFA headquarters was to be moved to somewhere else.[43] Following, Infantino then assured that his official residency remains in Canton Zurich and explained the organization of the World Cup in Qatar was in need of his presence there.[44] In November 2022, it was reported that he moved his official residency to Zug in June 2022, which was confirmed by the FIFA.[45] He is a fan of the Italian club Inter Milan.[46]


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  4. ^ "IOC Session elects three new Members – Olympic News". International Olympic Committee. 10 January 2020. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
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  12. ^ "Thirteen cities to host UEFA EURO 2020". 25 January 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  13. ^ "UEFA & FIFA warn Greece over government's planned new football laws |". The TOC In English. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
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  32. ^ Murphy, Tim. ""Today, I feel gay. Today, I feel disabled," says FIFA's president, who is neither". Mother Jones. Retrieved 9 February 2023.
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Sporting positions
Preceded by UEFA Chief Executive
Succeeded by
Preceded by UEFA General Secretary
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Issa Hayatou (Acting)
FIFA President
Succeeded by