January 10 – Despite losing the battle over FIFA’s decision to expand the World Cup finals, the European Club Association (ECA) says it is still vehemently opposed to the idea.
The ECA was represented on the FIFA Council that agreed the ground-breaking move but was unable to prevent expansion to 48 teams from 2026 and has had to admit defeat – though not before accusing FIFA and by association Gianni Infantino of playing politics
“The European Club Association reiterates that it is in principle not in favour of an expanded World Cup,” said a brief statement.
“We fail to see the merits to changing the current format of 32 that has proven to be the perfect formula from all perspectives. Questionable is also the urgency in reaching such an important decision, with nine years to go until it becomes applicable, without the proper involvement of stakeholders who will be impacted by this change.
“We understand that this decision has been taken based on political reasons rather than sporting ones and under considerable political pressure, something ECA believes is regrettable.
“ECA will analyse in detail the impact and the consequences of the new format and will address the matter at the next meeting of its executive board scheduled for the end of January.”
“This decision by the FIFA Council today again demonstrates that the wheels are apparently still being greased in the same old way and that FIFA is incapable of reforming itself.”
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