Re-elected Dominguez says he prefers building with Europe over a biennial World Cup

By Samindra Kunti in Doha

April 1 – Alejandro Dominguez, newly re-elected as president of Conmebol, wasted no time in saying he preferred the idea of South American teams participating in the Nations League over a biennial World Cup. 

The Paraguayan, who came to power in 2016 when he succeeded Juan Angel Napout, who was indicted in the FIFAGate scandal, was elected for a third term as head of the South American federation. No candidate stood against him for the position that he will now hold until 2027.

Dominguez took the opportunity to underline Conmebol’s ties with Europe. “We will capitalize on our history and be a better confederation than others, but we have a long way to go,” he said at the Conmebol annual congress in Doha.

“I believe in our alliance with UEFA because we want to grow and we also want to learn.”

FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who briefly attended the Conmebol congress, said that Zurich and Conmebol have “to work together to improve football around the world” and “try not to fight”.

The relationship between FIFA and Conmebol cooled after the world federation proposed to stage the World Cup on a biennial basis. Conmebol and UEFA have opposed Zurich’s biennial revolution. On Thursday, Infantino seemed to backtrack on the biennial idea when he said at congress that “FIFA has not proposed a biennial World Cup”, though it was a clear plank and commercial cornerstone of the Wenger plan for the global football calendar.

Dominguez said that the alliance between UEFA and Conmebol “is focused on sporting projects”.  He said that Conmebol sees participation in the Nations League as much more positive than a biennial World Cup.

Conmebol also presented the financial accounts for 2021, with a deficit of $22 million following the Covid-19 pandemic. The organisation projects a revenue of $426 million dollars in 2022. Dominguez also said that Conmebol will add $10 million on top of FIFA’s $50 million World Cup final prize money if a South American team wins in Qatar later this year.

“It was not easy, but we did it: we completed 2021 with a lot of success,” said the president of Conmebol’s financial commission Ramon Jesurun. “We had the pandemic but for some reason we felt that the pandemic was more dangerous in South America than in the rest of the world.”

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