26 days to go to the AFC Asian Cup, UAE 2019

Ceferin stands Europe’s stakeholders solidly against FIFA $25bn sell off plan

By Andrew Warshaw

December 5 – UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has stuck another barb into FIFA’s $25 billion proposal to change the landscape of world football with its plans for an expanded Club World Cup and a revamped Nations League, saying the whole of European football is against the idea.

The plans, brainchild of Ceferin’s opposite number at FIFA Gianni Infantino, could well be approved at the next FIFA Council meeting in March when the findings of an evaluation panel will be released, but Ceferin says European stakeholders are speaking with one voice.

“This is a matter that [has been going on] since March this year. We got a strange proposal from FIFA at the (recent) FIFA Council (in Rwanda); a proposal of a competition, a proposal [with] a big amount of money behind [it],” said Ceferin. “We asked for more information. We didn’t get it.”

“We have many problems concerning those two proposals. And by we, I mean 55 national associations, all the clubs from the ECA, 232 clubs and all the leagues from Europe and which is in addition, the World League Forum has exactly the same position. All I can say is that UEFA, UEFA members and European football are completely united concerning that.”

At the same news conference, Ceferin laughed off Conmebol’s recent suggestion of playing the World Cup every two years, saying that once again his members had not been consulted.

“It’s quite interesting that we should read the media to get to find out about brilliant, new ideas every day,” he said sarcastically. “If I can joke a bit, I would say it’s better to have the World Cup every six months and nothing else.”

On an unrelated subject, UEFA has been accused of double standards by appearing to give the go-ahead for the decisive leg of the Copa Libertadores to be played in Madrid whilst at the time rejecting La Liga’s controversial plan to play one of their fixtures (Barcelona versus Girona) overseas in Miami in January.

Rejecting this interpretation, Ceferin said: “On the Copa Libertadores, I got a phone call and we got some emails and letters from Conmebol, the South American confederation, and they said they can’t organise the event for security reasons.

“Of course, my opinion is that we have to help our colleagues from other confederations if we can organise an event that they cannot – that’s one thing.

“Secondly, UEFA didn’t (yet) express any opinion about La Liga’s match in Miami, I think. The procedure is as follows. They have to ask for so-called permission from the Spanish FA. If they say yes, then they have to ask us as a confederation. If we say yes, they have to ask Concacaf and if they say yes, they have to ask US Soccer. FIFA has to be notified. We didn’t get the question and we didn’t express any opinion. But of course, the opinions of our national associations are always important to us.”

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