Fifa president Gianni Infantino has expressed his preference for promotion and relegation in American Soccer following a meeting with US president Donald Trump at the White House to discuss preparations for the 2026 World Cup.
Speaking to si.com and The Washington Post following his visit, Infantino said Fifa had placed no requirements on the US Soccer Federation as a condition to host the tournament and that any change in its competitive structures would have to come from within. Of the idiosyncratic structures in US soccer he saw both positives and negatives.
“I wouldn’t say it’s holding American soccer back, because some good progress has been made. We should not forget that. Maybe this is the right way to do things in this country,” Infantino said of US soccer’s exceptionalism. “But personally, coming from a different background, I believe in something like promotion and relegation. I believe in the competition. I believe in a [club] president or owner who can just say, ‘OK, I want to win the league this year, and I want to invest.’”
But Infantino stopped short of saying he would force USSF president Carlos Cordeiro’s hand on any issue.
“I’m empowered to talk to people and to push, but then, of course, this gentleman here [Cordeiro] and his colleagues, they are free to decide whatever they want. But I can be pretty painful when I have something in my mind.”