Gianni Infantino's first 39 months in office will not count towards term limits ©Getty Images

The FIFA Council has cleared the way for Gianni Infantino to lead football's world governing body until 2031 after declaring his first three years in office do not count as a term.

The FIFA President is limited to three four-year terms in office and it had been previously understood that the 39 months between Infantino winning the Presidency at a 2016 Extraordinary Congress and being re-elected unopposed in 2019 constituted his first term.

Infantino completed the vast majority of a term initially won by disgraced predecessor Sepp Blatter.

However, FIFA's Governance, Audit and Compliance Committee now says it does not count as a term and that has been endorsed by the FIFA Council today.

It means Infantino - who is due to be re-elected unopposed in Rwanda next March - is officially approaching the end of term one and could still serve another two.

That frees up the Swiss-Italian official to lead FIFA until 2031 - a 15-year reign, despite the supposed limit of three four-year terms - should he be re-elected in 2027.

Today's Council meeting in Qatar also saw Morocco appointed to host the FIFA Club World Cup in 2023.

Morocco is set to host next year's Club World Cup - an event FIFA says will grow to 24 teams from 2025 ©Getty Images
Morocco is set to host next year's Club World Cup - an event FIFA says will grow to 24 teams from 2025 ©Getty Images

The expanded 32-team FIFA Club World Cup is now due to begin in 2025 - four years later than planned.

A new FIFA World Series in March in even years has also been promised and would see teams from different continents facing off.

It was also confirmed that a 2030 men's World Cup host will be picked in 2024, along with the 2027 FIFA Women's World Cup host.

A host of the 2030 women's event is due to be selected in 2025.

The Council met on the sidelines of the ongoing men's World Cup in Qatar.

Argentina and defending champions France are due to meet in the final on Sunday (December 20).

A budget for the 2023-2026 cycle was approved by the Council, which heard FIFA's revenue at the year's end would tally $7.5 billion (£6.2 billion/€7.1 billion) - $1 billion (£821 million/€940 million) above projection.