President's Foreword
Executive forewords

President's foreword

President’s Foreword

More than five billion people were inspired by football’s most iconic tournament in 2022, helping FIFA to lay even stronger foundations for the sport’s sustainable development.

The 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup was everything we had all hoped for, and more. Not only was it the best-ever edition of the tournament, but it was also one that definitively proved football’s unifying power as fans from all over the world rubbed shoulders in and around one city, sharing the hope, passion and joy of football with peace and harmony. They witnessed incredible drama as well as some surprise results, and many did so while enjoying the rich culture of Qatar and the Arab world for the very first time.

Further historic chapters will be written into football’s history books in 2023 when Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand welcome the world for the biggest-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup, with 32 teams participating for the very first time. Indeed, it is FIFA’s duty to ensure not only that global tournaments engage with girls and boys, women and men from all corners of the world, but also that football continues to provide opportunities to everyone, wherever and whenever they are born.

As the global governing body we must play our part in ensuring a level playing field for all our members. The launch of FIFA Forward 3.0 means that we can do so by providing support for development projects, hand-in-hand with the six Confederations and the 211 FIFA Member Associations. Over this four-year cycle, there will be an increase in investment in Forward of 29% compared to the previous period, and that means that solidarity payments have now increased by a factor of seven in the space of just seven years. It is important to bear in mind that our revenues did not multiply by a factor of seven in that time; this increased investment is a result of the new FIFA being efficient, well governed and fit for purpose.

It is FIFA’s duty to ensure not only that global tournaments engage with girls and boys, women and men from all corners of the world, but also that football continues to provide opportunities to everyone, wherever they were born.

In 2022, the launch of the FIFA Clearing House brought more transparency, integrity and accountability to the global transfer system, ensuring a fairer regulation and redistribution of money from player transfer throughout the football pyramid. Targeted investments, accountability and transparency is something we are continually working towards, not only through the work of FIFA’s Regional Development Offices but also through the new base for the Member Associations Division in Paris, FIFA’s maiden home in 1904.

Being closer to you all allows us to better understand your needs, hear your opinions and diversify our approach. With that in mind, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the discussions on how the football calendar should be shaped in the future, helping us to explore new competitions as well as optimise the ones that we have. Competitions drive development, and thanks to the implementation of the Talent Development Scheme by Arsène Wenger, Jill Ellis and their teams in 2022, we can now see a clear pathway towards giving every talent a chance in a way that also works for the society around them.

It is our collective duty to create a brighter, stronger future for those who follow us, through football. It is vital that we leverage the game’s power through education systems all over the world, working with governmental stakeholders and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) alike, and our FIFA Football for Schools programme is just one example of it. It is equally important that we help to preserve our planet through best sustainability practice in our daily business, that we use our voice to call out discrimination, and that we ensure that, in an ever more digital world, players performing in FIFA tournaments are protected from the scourge of online hate speech. In doing so, we must acknowledge the impact of such issues on mental health, but we also know that we can promote a healthier, more active lifestyle. Football is such an important platform in getting that and many other messages across.

Last year drew to a close with Lionel Messi lifting the ultimate trophy at the Lusail Stadium and being congratulated by Pelé on his, and his team’s, achievements. Despite the sporting rivalry of their two great nations, respect and humanity flourished above all. Sadly, just 11 days later, ”O Rei” left us, uniting the world in grief at the news of his passing. I extend once more my deepest sympathies to his friends, family and loved ones all around the world.

In 2023, we will enjoy more international football that will stimulate and motivate us, and we will witness moments that will fill us with emotions. We should cherish each of these moments while paving the way for many more to be enjoyed in the future.

Yours in football,

Gianni Infantino
FIFA President