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FIFA president says Costa Rica could host World Cup, vows ‘never again’ to corruption scandals in soccer

FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Tuesday called on world football to “never again” return to the corruption scandals that shook the sport in recent years and led to the imprisonment of numerous leaders.

“We never want to live what we have lived in FIFA, CONCACAF and Costa Rica,” said the leader in a press conference in Costa Rica, referencing the scandal known as “FIFAgate,” which exposed corruption in world football.

Recalling that case, which occurred prior to the start of his term at the helm of FIFA in 2016, Infantino said that international football “was much more than very bad — it was clinically dead.”

Infantino arrived in Costa Rica on Monday night at the start of a tour that will also take him to Honduras and El Salvador, where on Wednesday he will participate in the assembly of the Central American Union of Fútbol (UNCAF).

The former president of the Costa Rican Football Federation (Fedefutbol), Eduardo Li, was one of those arrested and sentenced in the United States for accepting bribes, as were the football leaders of other Central American countries.

“There is no going back. If someone still in Costa Rica, in Central America, in North America or the Caribbean believes they can come to football to cheat to get rich against the interests of football, we don’t want these people,” Infantino said.

Infantino also announced that FIFA is studying the possibility of hosting the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in 2020 in Costa Rica and Panama.

“This morning (Tuesday) we talked about the very real possibility of organizing next year, in September, the U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica with Panama,” said Infantino after discussing the issue with President Carlos Alvarado.

He said that in December FIFA could reach the decision to organize that tournament in the two Central American countries. The organization is also reportedly considering Nigeria.

President Alvarado said the Costa Rican government will “work hard” to make another Costa Rican World Cup “a reality.” The country previously hosted the U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2014.

The issue of video-assisted arbitration (VAR) was also addressed at the press conference.

The president of CONCACAF, Victor Montagliani, announced that the VAR will be used in the 2021 Gold Cup, the main tournament of nations of the region.

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