FIFA puts $25bil­lion tour­na­ment plans on hold

World Soccer - - From The Editor - Keir Radnedge

A pos­si­ble schism be­tween FIFA and UEFA has been avoided af­ter FIFA opted to set up a task­force to con­sider pres­i­dent Gianni In­fantino’s plans for ex­pan­sion of the Club World Cup and cre­ation of a global na­tions league.

The new com­pe­ti­tions is­sue had raised more angst in Europe than in the rest of the world put to­gether. Euro­pean fed­er­a­tion UEFA was con­cerned that an ex­panded an­nual Club World Cup – with rev­enues of $25bil­lion from likely Saudi in­vestors – would drain its Cham­pi­ons League of broad­cast and spon­sor in­come, while the con­ti­nent’s leagues and play­ers’ union FIFPro feared greater de­mands on play­ers.

The con­tro­ver­sial plan was ef­fec­tively kicked into the long grass by the com­pro­mise so­lu­tion taken by the FIFA Coun­cil, meet­ing in Ki­gali. The is­sue has been com­pli­cated by the prospect of monies em­a­nat­ing from a Saudi busi­ness or a sov­er­eign fund.

A task­force headed by In­fantino and com­pris­ing the six con­fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dents will come up with tour­na­ment op­tions to set be­fore coun­cil in March.

In­fantino said: “We have taken a de­ci­sion to

over­haul the Club World Cup and dis­cuss a world na­tions league, so we have set up a task­force which will op­er­ate un­der the di­rec­tion of the bureau of the FIFA Coun­cil and we will then present the pro­pos­als at the next coun­cil meet­ing, in Mi­ami, on March 14 and 15.

“Once we have fi­nalised the pro­pos­als then we will see what com­mer­cial im­pact these com­pe­ti­tions will have.

“But be­fore, [we need to know] whether we play the Club World Cup ev­ery four years or ev­ery year with eight or 16 or 24 or 32 teams, whether we play a global na­tions league with matches be­tween teams from dif­fer­ent con­fed­er­a­tions, and whether it takes place over four or six or eight match­days.”

Fi­nal...Real Madrid (in white) and Gremio at last year’s Club World Cup

De­ci­sions... Gianni In­fantino

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