Reports have confirmed that FIFA President Gianni Infantino is putting more strength on his Club World Cup plans with a blueprint for an annual tourney despite UEFA’s opposition to any competition that challenges the authority of the Champions League.
The initial plan which was to play a 24-team Club World Cup every four years has now been revised to a new format that will be discussed at the FIFA Council meeting in Rwanda on Friday, 26th October 2018. As at the moment of this publication, discussions remain confidential.
If the plans go through, FIFA stands to make a guaranteed income of about $25 billion from international conglomerates like the SoftBank of Japan, a moved which has been stalled since March by Europe’s football body.
Although the current proposal only covers men’s football, it seeks to give prominence to world club football by creating a global Nations League in form of a mini-World Cup that will take place every two years and put an end to the current yearly seven-team Club World Cup and the Confederations Cup for international teams held every four years.
Original documents sent to members of the FIFA Council indicates that a Club World Cup that will feature 24 teams and played between June and July every fourth year from 2021 to 2033 will worth at least $3 billion per edition. It could also lead to the weakening of the UEFA Champions League as half of the slots will be given to European teams.
Football leaders from around the world have encouraged FIFA to keep the yearly format but with more teams, although Infantino is inclined to a July-August event and very much open to other alternatives. Other limitations to the plans might include the preseason friendlies top European clubs participate in which will affect the tournament if it is played in the summer of the northern hemisphere.
While Infantino has convinced teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona to back his plans in public, the European Club Association has also called for the reduction of the workload on players rather than an increase.
The FIFA President wants to use the meeting in Kigali to secure an agreement that the current Club World Cup and Confederations Cup need to be replaced rather than use the meeting to gain approval for the final configuration of competitions formats. Only after the meeting will FIFA start consultations on the proposed formats.
Since he became President, Infantino has spearheaded the largest reforms of FIFA tournaments in the 21st-century gaining support from regional confederations save UEFA. Football’s world governing body would have a major stake of 51 percent in the proposed joint venture that would give birth to the tournaments.