GENEVA: Europe’s clubs, having put up comparatively minimal op0position to the 2022 World Cup timing shift, have resumed sabre-rattling over the proposed reforms to world football federation FIFA writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The European Club Association has issued a statement mixing a welcome for some of the proposals approved by the FIFA executive committee yesterday with loud complaints about the lack of consultation afforded to the clubs.

Predictably, it also attacked the idea of a 40-team World Cup.

Recommendations to be put to FIFA Congress next February 26 include governance restructuring, pay transparency, term limits and greater representation for women.

ECA grudgingly accepts that “a number of recommendations are important and necessary steps which should lead to FIFA’s institutional structure becoming more transparent and accountable moving forward.”

However it criticises the lack of high-level inclusion for stakeholders in general and clubs in particular.

ECA says: “Proposals relating specifically to governance reform are missing the involvement and greater recognition of all stakeholders.

“Clubs, in particular, have the legitimate right to play a decisive role in football governance and occupy a position reflective of their significant contribution to the game (more than 75pc of the 2014 FIFA World Cup players were released by European clubs).

“The creation of a football stakeholders’ committee does not address the lack of proper and meaningful stakeholder participation in FIFA’s decision-making process.”

The ECA also took virulent exception to the possibility of expanding the World Cup from 32 to 40 teams in time for the 2026 finals. Part of the upset appears to be affront to the ECA’s pride in not having been consulted this far.

The statement adds: “The recommendation to enhance the number of participating teams in the FIFA World Cup from 32 to 40 without prior consultation with the clubs (in full knowledge of the impact this will have on the professional club game), is proof that the proposed reforms are not at the required standard allowing for a new and modern FIFA.”

The long-term likelihood, based on recent history, is that this is merely the first salvo in a negotiating battle to ensure greater financial recompense for the clubs in return for World Cup player availability.