Infantino expands on proposals for drastic overhaul of African game

The creation of an African Super League could generate an estimated $200m in revenue, Fifa president Gianni Infantino claimed on Monday, and make it one of the top 10 football competitions in the world, changing the financial reality of football on the continent.

Infantino was elaborating on his weekend proposals to the Confederation of African Football (Caf) for a drastic overhaul of the African game when he met with the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) in Budapest.

“We have had some serious problems in Africa and it has to change. It has to change the way of how to do business, it has to take on board the basic elements of good governance,” he said.

In Rabat at the weekend he outlined a plan centred around improved competitions for Africa, infrastructure investment and professionalisation of refereeing.

“There needs to be proper competition infrastructure. I think it is fair to say that the competitions in Africa are 30-to-40 times less successful than in Europe,” he said on Monday.

But the Fifa president did not explain how he arrived at the $200m figure or how such a club competition would work – or be any different from the African Champions League.

He did, however, expand on his thinking about future Africa Cup of Nations.

“I was always told the Africa Cup of Nations is played every two years because it ensured the building of new infrastructure plus it generated revenues,” Infantino told the gathering of sports journalists.

“But when you look at the last decades, I don’t see a proliferation of top class African stadiums and in terms of revenue we are miles away.

“If it is played every four years it makes it more exclusive, it presents a better profile.

“It’s the same for clubs. There are some clubs with literally tens of millions of supporters and they play competitions where actually the owners have to pay in money to be able to compete.”

Infantino said Fifa was in position now to help guarantee infrastructure projects in Africa.

“This is our proposal but we have to see whether African football accepts it.”

He also focused on a need to fix refereeing and proposed to have an elite panel of professional referees paid for by Fifa.

“You cannot have situations where football association presidents are the ones deciding who is to referee major matches in a national league,” said Infantino.

“This cannot be. This must be the work of technocrats and experts.

“The elite panel will be performance driven. You work well, you stay on the panel, you perform poorly and you are out,” he added.

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