ZURICH: FIFA is pressing forward with plans to secure a remarkable $25bn investment by creating a global nations league and converting the Club World Cup into an expanded four-yearly replacement for the Confederations Cup writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Gianni Infantino, president of the world federation, surprised members of FIFA Council in March with an informal announcement of the offer from a consortium of Asian and American business interests.
European federation UEFA was most affronted by the prospect of FIFA grabbing a larger share of the lucrative club game plus swallowing up its own new Nations League.
Infantino then summoned an emergency meeting of council later this month but this may have been superceded in purpose already after a meeting of officials from the six regional confederations in Zurich agreed to set up a working group to study the issue.
Apart from UEFA, the idea is likely to meet with enthusiastic approval from the rest of the football world because of the projected extra investment in development funding.
South America confederation CONMEBOL likes the concept because major nations such as Brazil and Argentina were extremely concerned that their lucrative European-based friendly matches would have been killed off by UEFA’s Nations League which takes out all the friendly match dates in the international calendar.
Now they have the prospect of taking part in a ‘club’ which could offer the ultimate winners of a play-off series more than the prize money available at the World Cup itself.
After the meeting Philippe Moggio, general secretary of central/north American body CONCACAF, told media “there was a sense of urgency to move forward.”
A FIFA statement described the meeting as having been conducted in a “friendly and positive environment” and that the working group had been created to “analyse further the relevance and feasibility of staging both competitions.”
The revamped Club World Cup would involve 24 teams, including 12 from Europe, being staged every four years in the European summer instead of annually in December.
The nations league would see all national teams competing in rehional divisions with promotion and relegation and the winners of the top section progressing to a knockout competition.