catching up with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
The European Club Association chairman criticised Fifa yesterday over their decision to expand the World Cup finals to 48 teams, and wants less international games played.
The decision-making process that led Fifa to increase the number of teams at the World Cup to 48 starting with the tournament in 2026 is unacceptable, Rummenigge, the European Club Association chairman, said yesterday. The organisation, which represents 220 football clubs, opposes Fifa's decision which Rummenigge, has previously dismissed as “nonsense”.
The German, who also serves as Bayern Munich’s chief executive, said there were also issues with transparency in that specific Fifa process, without elaborating. “I believe it is quite clear Fifa knows we are unhappy that they increased the number of participants by 50 per cent,” he said. “This is a fact. The way of the decision-making and the transparency was not acceptable from our point of view.”
Big clubs angry
Fifa voted in January to increase the size of the World Cup from 32 teams to 48 from 2026, but the organisation pledged the finals would not last any longer than at present. However, big clubs in particular are angry at the prospect of losing even more players to their national teams.
Seek a solution
Clubs have already complained about what they say is a crowded calendar of international matches for which they must release their players on a regular basis. “They are using our players, our employees in favour of the World Cup,” Rummenigge said. “We have every right to find a solution.”
Reduce amount of games
“I would call now especially on Fifa and Uefa to reduce the number of matches. We arrived at a point where players have to play too many games,” Rummenigge said.
ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.