LEAGUES OPPOSE FIFA’S 2022 WCUP EX­PAN­SION PLANS

The Witness - - SPORT -

TOP­ leagues­ across­ Europe­ are­ op­posedto­ Fifa’s­ ex­pan­sion­ plans­ forthe­ 2022­ World­ Cup­ and­ fu­ture­ edi­tion­sof­ the­ Club­ World­ Cup,­ the­ Euro­peanLeagues­ pres­i­dent­ Lars-Chris­terOls­son­ has­ said.

Fifa­ plan­ to­ ex­pand­ the­ World­ Cupfrom­ 32­ teams­ to­ 48­ for­ the­ 2026tour­na­ment,­ but­ the­ global­ gov­ern­ing­body’s­ pres­i­dent­ Gianni­ In­fantino­ has­said­ he­ was­ open­ to­ in­tro­duc­ing­ the­p­ro­posal­ at­ the­ 2022­ fi­nals­ in­ Qatar.

The­ Euro­pean­ Leagues,­ an­ um­brel­la­group­ for­ 32­ pro­fes­sional­ leagues­ an­das­so­ci­a­tions­ from­ 25­ Euro­pean­ coun­tries,are­ against­ the­ pro­posed­ ex­pan­sion,which­ would­ add­ ex­tra­ days­ and­matches­ to­ the­ event.

“We­ are­ not­ pre­pared­ to­ make­ any­changes­ on­ the­ cal­en­dar­ for­ ex­pand­ingthe­ 2022­ World­ Cup,”­ Ols­son­ told

The Times­ in­ Bri­tain.

“We­ have­ al­ready­ been­ flex­i­ble­ toal­low­ the­ World­ Cup­ to­ be­ played­ inthe­ win­ter­ and­ have­ agreed­ the­ dates,and­ we­ are­ not­ pre­pared­ for­ the­ du­ra­tionof­ the­ World­ Cup­ to­ be­ any­longer.”

In­ 2015,­ Fifa­ an­nounced­ that­ the2022­ World­ Cup­ would­ be­ staged­ inthe­ last­ two­ months­ of­ the­ year­ in­ an­ef­fort­ to­ avoid­ is­sues­ aris­ing­ from­ the­ex­treme­ heat­ in­ Qatar­ dur­ing­ June-July,forc­ing­ most­ leagues­ to­ heav­ily­ ad­just­their­ cal­en­dars.

World­ soc­cer’s­ gov­ern­ing­ body­ are­likely­ to­ de­cide­ on­ the­ ex­pan­sion­ plan­for­ 2022­ dur­ing­ the­ next­ Fifa­ con­gressin­ June.

In­fantino­ also­ pre­vi­ously­ said­ that­sev­eral­ com­pa­nies­ were­ in­ter­ested­ in­ex­pand­ing­ the­ Club­ World­ Cup­ fromit’s­ cur­rent­ eight-team­ for­mat­ to­ agrander­ 24-team­ event.

“Fifa­ seems­ to­ be­ on­ an­ ex­pan­sion­drive.­ It’s­ time­ peo­ple­ thought­ about­the­ play­ers­ —­ they­ need­ time­ to­ rest.It­ can­not­ just­ be­ money­ de­cid­ing­ how­foot­ball­ should­ be­ or­gan­ised,”­ Ol­son­said.­ —­ Reuters.

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