May 16 – UEFA’s top brass were meeting today in an attempt to forge a united stance against Gianni Infantino’s plans to change the landscape of world football.
News agencies report that UEFA’s Council of leading stakeholders were coming together ahead of the Europa League final in Lyon to agree how to respond to recommendations to enlarge the Club World Cup to 24 teams and create a biennial global Nations League.
The council, chaired by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, brings together the European Club Association (ECA), the recently renamed European Leagues (EPFL) and the players’ union (FIFPro).
Infantino says he has an offer of $25 billion over 12 years on the table for the two competitions from a group of investors, which the Financial Times has identified as SoftBank from Japan and the governments of China and Saudi Arabia.
FIFA is reported to have already presented the project to seven of Europe’s biggest clubs including Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. According to agency reports, 12 of the 24 teams in the competition would be European, four or five from South America, two each from the rest of the Americas, Asia and Africa, leaving Oceania to battle for the last place with a South American team.
The winners of the four previous Champions Leagues would be guaranteed places.
The European participants could make between $50 million and $80 million each but while some of the clubs have given the project their blessing, including Real, the same cannot be said of Europe’s governing bodies.
Infantino wants agreement signed soon to meet a 60-day deadline and hopes to get approval at the FIFA conference in Moscow.
But AFP quoted UEFA boss Aleksancer Ceferin as saying: “FIFA should not be meeting with only seven federations or clubs and discussing with them things that concern all of European football.”
And English Premier League boss Richard Scudamore told the Times: “To be presented with FIFA’s ‘solution’ as a fait accompli and claim this to be consultation defies all definitions of best practice and good governance.”
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