March 12 – FIFA president Gianni Infantino has reportedly promised Oceania a guaranteed place in an expanded Club World Cup if his proposal is approved by the FIFA Council in Miami this week.
Infantino wants to expand the tournament to 24 teams and hold it every four years in place of the Confederations Cup.
The winner of the OFC Champions League qualifies for the Club World Cup each year its current format, but has to defeat the reigning champion of the host nation before it gets to face a continental champion from another confederation.
Infantino, who has been stepping up the rhetoric in the days leading up to Friday’s crunch FIFA Council summit, said there would be direct entry for an Oceania team to a revamped event
“The last Club World Cup, we had a team from Oceania [Team Wellington] that was winning 3-0, against a team from the UAE, Al Ain, who then managed to turn the result around and qualified for the final against Real Madrid,” he was quoted as saying whilst on a visit to the Oceania congress last weekend.
“We can see that there is some quality here, the problem is that nobody knows about it, and why does nobody know about it, it’s because the current Club World Cup is not good, and it has to be changed.
“It has to be changed to have a real impact, so we are proposing to change it and to replace another competition which has no real impact, which is the Confederations Cup, with a real Club World Cup, with maybe 24 teams, of which at least one should be from Oceania. One fixed spot, not like now for the World Cup which is a half spot, but one spot for an Oceania team.”
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