UEFA Stage Protest Against FIFA, Rejects Club World Cup and Nations League Proposal

The president of UEFA, Aleksander Ceferin, and his colleagues will stage a walkout at the FIFA Council Meeting set to take place in Kigali on Friday if the world governing body decides to push for a vote on a new Club World Cup and Nations League.

UEFA delegates are said to be angry and frustrated over what they perceive as “emotional blackmail” by FIFA president Gianni Infantino to agree to the proposals.

Complaints center on the implications it will have on confederations, lack of detail on football’s calendar and an overall lack of consultation from parties involved.

A new and expanded Club World Cup – held every year featuring some of the Premier League and Europe’s top clubs – has been proposed by FIFA.

The ruling council is to decide whether it should be adopted and how to proceed at its meeting in Rwanda on Friday.

The Club World Cup is held every December currently and features seven teams from six confederations.

Earlier this year, Infantino proposed an expansion of 24 teams, which will include 12 teams from Europe, with the competition to be staged every four years.

An opposition to the plans from FIFA Council members resulted in talks being suspended shortly before the start of the World Cup in Russia.

The options being put forward would see the current Club World Cup and Confederations Cup abolished, with a new and expanded Club World Cup set up:

  • Proposal 1: Stage it in place of the Confederations Cup, an eight-nation tournament held in June the year before each World Cup.
  • Proposal 2: Same plan – but also includes options for a yearly competition held either as a pre-season tournament in July to August or in another time slot.

In either case, the competition format, number of teams and division of places between each confederation are yet to be determined, but it will not exceed 18 days.

The world governing body also wants to introduce a new global Nations League based on the format of the UEFA Nations League, which began in September.

The new Club World Cup and global Nations League is projected to generate $25bn in revenue, with the investment coming from a consortium led by Japan’s SoftBank.

However, with FIFA facing scrutiny over potential financial links with Saudi Arabia, the official documents outline how the organization “would not enter into a joint venture for this purpose, whether directly or indirectly, with sovereign wealth funds of individual states”.

The FIFA Council will vote on whether to introduce a Nations League that will include countries from across the world from 2022.

However, it will also decide whether organizing and commercializing that competition is also FIFA’s responsibility.