Want to be a reporter or would you like to buy a report for the best price?
Just Sign Up here!
Privacy guidelines License our content Help
The Fifa president, Gianni Infantino, has submitted a potentially explosive proposal for a lucrative, revamped Club World Cup, featuring top Premier League and European clubs and to be played every season. Uefa is understood to be fiercely opposed to the proposals, which will be considered by Fifa’s council meeting in Rwanda. European football’s governing body will regard any plan for an annual club tournament as a direct challenge to the Champions League, reported The Guardian (UK).
Uefa and the European Club Association were highly critical of Fifa’s proposals earlier this year to reconfigure the Club World Cup. Speaking at the time, Infantino said he had investors, who were never identified, willing to pay $12bn for four tournaments every four years from 2021. The Japanese telecoms giant Softbank is widely reported to be backing the plan, although Fifa has not named any of the investors, citing a confidentiality agreement. The world governing body has consistently downplayed reports that a major portion of the money is coming from Saudi Arabia.
Infantino has met the king of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, four times in the past year, but Saudi involvement in any Fifa venture would be deeply controversial given the worldwide revulsion at the violent death of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul this month.
Infantino is seeking re-election as Fifa president next year and has promised Fifa’s national member football associations that the world governing body will spend “more than $4bn” on football development globally by 2026. Fifa is pledging that significant income will be distributed to national associations from the revamped Club World Cup and a new Nations League, for which the investors promised $13bn over 12 years – a total of $25bn for the two tournaments.
Individual clubs, including Real Madrid and Barcelona, as well as those from the Premier League, emerged from Fifa presentations supporting the idea of a new Club World Cup every four years, which promised an average of more than £100m to each participating club.
Infantino had pushed for a quick decision to be taken, saying that the investors had set a 60-day deadline, but after meeting strong opposition from Uefa and the ECA, the proposal was shelved, no vote was taken and Fifa promised to undertake further consultation.
This week, the 36 council members from Fifa’s six regional confederations will be presented again with the suggested revamp of the Club World Cup and a new World Nations League. The proposals are understood to include one option for a new club tournament with an increased number of teams (the options last time were 16 or 24) to take place every four years, instead of the current Confederations Cup, in June the year before every World Cup.
The second proposal, which will be seen as highly provocative by Uefa in particular, is for the new Club World Cup tournament to be held every season. One option presented to the council is for an annual tournament to take place in July and August, while another is to hold it annually and agree a different time slot, presumably during the season.
The Uefa president, Aleksander Ceferin, derided the Fifa plan in May, in a speech to EU sports ministers, saying: “I cannot accept that some people who are blinded by the pursuit of profit are considering selling the soul of football tournaments to nebulous private funds. Money does not rule – and the European sports model must be respected. Football is not for sale. I will not let anyone sacrifice its structures on the altar of a highly cynical and ruthless mercantilism.”
The ECA and Juventus president, Andrea Agnelli, was also scathing about the proposal last time, describing the financial projections as “dodgy”. Agnelli stressed that the football tournament calendar is globally agreed until 2024 and his priority after that is to seek expansion of the Champions League format to include more matches – and therefore more revenues – for participating teams.
A Uefa source told the Guardian that its position has not changed since Infantino last presented the proposals, so Uefa’s nine members on the Fifa council, including Ceferin, are expected to state their pronounced opposition at the meeting.
show source https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/oct/23/fifa-president-gianni-infantino-submits-plan-for-annual-club-world-cup-uefa-champions-league