FIFA President: FIFA World Cup 2026 Will ‘Change The Balance In Football’


FIFA President Gianni Infantino has told member association Presidents gathered at the Congress of the Central Football Union (UNCAF), that the next edition of the FIFA World Cup provides unprecedented opportunities for football development across not only North America, but Central America too.

Mr Infantino was speaking at the 22nd UNCAF Ordinary Congress in Antigua, Guatemala, where he addressed the presidents and senior leaderships of the member associations of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, at an event that was also attended by FIFA Vice-President and Concacaf President Victor Montagliani.

“This next [FIFA] World Cup in North America is going to be the [FIFA] World Cup of America; it’s going to be the [FIFA] World Cup that will change the balance in football, because we are going to focus our work in this part of the world.” President Infantino said.

As well as the enhanced opportunities created by the expanded FIFA World Cup, Mr Infantino was also keen to focus on the continually growing FIFA Forward commitment to football development across the region since his first election as President in 2016.

“In those seven years, we have grown seven-fold; the FIFA Forward programme, and the solidarity funds that FIFA provide to federations. We have raised the minimum amount up to USD 8 million in this cycle, some USD 5 million to UNCAF that did not exist before. You do an outstanding and wonderful job in this part of the world. It’s also thanks to your unique passion for football in Central America.”

Finally, President Infantino congratulated the member associations present for a number of recent successes – in the men’s and women’s game – including Panama for their recent qualification to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.

He also offered congratulatory words to Costa Rica, who will also be present in Australia & New Zealand in July and August 2023; to Guatemala and Honduras for their qualifications to the FIFA U-20 World Cup Indonesia 2023, and to Panama again for their confirmed berth at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Peru 2023.

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