FIFA candidate Infantino wants regional World Cup

Gianni Infantino wants new format for future World Cups.

Gianni Infantino wants an expanded World Cup to be hosted across entire regions if he wins next month’s FIFA presidential election.

UEFA secretary general Infantino outlined his plans for football on Tuesday when he published his manifesto to succeed Sepp Blatter as head of world football’s governing body.

The 45-year-old is one of five candidates in the running to replace his suspended Swiss compatriot at an extraordinary FIFA congress on February 26.

Infantino, working alongside Michel Platini at UEFA, spearheaded spreading Euro 2020 across 13 countries, and wants the World Cup to follow suit.

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The 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea is the only time the event has been co-hosted.

"FIFA should investigate the possibility of organising the World Cup not only in one or two countries but in a whole region, so enabling several countries to enjoy the honour and benefits of hosting the World Cup," Infantino said in his manifesto.

The first World Cup bidding after the February 26 election is for the 2026 tournament which was postponed last year when a corruption scandal engulfed FIFA and brought about the end of Blatter’s reign.

Infantino is standing against Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the Bahraini head of the Asian Football Confederation, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale and Jerome Champagne, a former FIFA deputy secretary general from France.

The Swiss is also offering a greater share of the organisation’s wealth, saying a "proper risk analysis must be conducted" into whether the governing body requires cash reserves as high as $1.5 billion.

Each of FIFA’s members will be offered $5m to invest in development projects and running costs, a huge increase on the $2.05m per federation in 2011-2014, and another $1m, if required, for travel, which would be attractive to small nations in remote regions.

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Additionally, each of the six confederations will be handed $40m to invest in development projects and their regional offshoots in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Central America can request another $4m to organize youth tournaments. The amounts are all within a four-year cycle.

"If the target of 50 per cent of distribution of FIFA’s income is reached, these amounts will further increase significantly," Infantino said.

Infantino only entered the race after Platini, his boss at European governing body UEFA, was initially suspended by FIFA in October before being handed an eight-year ban last month.

Both Blatter and Platini have denied any wrongdoing.