ASUNCION: FIFA president Gianni Infantino reiterated his priorities of bringing reform to FIFA and more investment to the international game on his first visit to Paraguay after being elected last month writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Infantino was addressing a news conference at the headquarters of South American confederation CONMEBOL, with which he said he intended to work closely.

CONMEBOL and central/north American body CONCACAF, have been at the heart of the FIFAGate corruption action launched by the United States Department of Justice. Its last three presidents – Nicolas Leoz, Eugenio Fernandez and Juan Angel Napout – have all been indicted by the US DoJ.

New president Alejandro Dominguez welcomed Infantino who reviewed the FIFA reforms programme as well as the experimental implementation of video technology to help referees.

Expert assistance

He said: “We can not change the past but we can influence the future. We will work hand in hand with CONMEBOL, because it is necessary that the reforms being implemented in FIFA are also applied here.

“We will send experts to try to help you improve a situation which is not good from both financial and legal points of view.”

Infantino also talked of FIFA’s extra investment in development which had been one of the main planks of his election campaign.

He said: “The executive committee, at its last meeting, approved a new budget of $1,400m which will be presented to Congress in Mexico in a month and a half and we believe will be accepted.”

Regarding the extension of the use of technology, he said: “The Internatioanl Board has approved some experiments like the video to assist referees, which will last two years then we must first evaluate its impact.”

Infantino, who also met Paraguayan state President Horacio Cartes during his visit, offered a glimpse of light for a South American bid to host the centenary World Cup in 2030.

Uruguay staged the inaugural tournament in 1930 and would need a co-host to bid for a repeat. FIFA had set its mind against co-hosting after the Japan-Korea experience in 2022.

However Infantino has a different view, developed out of his experience with co-hosting of the European Championship by UEFA with whom he was general secretary until his FIFA switch.

He said: “An important theme is whether the World Cup can be played in more than one country. FIFA has been very much against a joint organisation. I personally support it.

“2030 is a very important year and history must be respected.”