FRANKFURT: German DFB president Reinhard Grindel has warned Gianni Infantino and his FIFA Council against rushing a decision next week on expansion of the World Cup finals writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The governing body of the world football federation holds its first meeting of the year on Tuesday, following Monday’s awards gala at which Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to harvest yet another award.
Last month the world’s national associations were sent a discussions document outlining four possibilities about expanding the World Cup from 2026 to 40 or 48 teams.
Any decision by the council would need to be ratified by FIFA Congress in Bahrain in May.
Grindel said: “The member associations only received the FIFA factsheet, just before Christmas. What we need now is a broad debate within the associations and confederations. A decision must not be taken in haste.”
He thought all four proposals had serious flaws.
Grindel added: “At the DFB we are fundamentally convinced that the tried and tested format with 32 participating nations should remain in place. Past World Cups have always been tournaments that have enthused players, spectators and sponsors alike. So why change it?”
The DFB accepted FIFA’s argument that more development work was needed in Africa and Asia but challenged an assumption that expanding the World Cup was the best way of trying to do this.
He said: “If we overdo it in terms of the burden placed on the players, I believe that there is a grave danger, particularly in Europe, that this could lead to major conflicts with the clubs and the leagues.”