Infantino sends Fifpro and WLA packing with message they have no place at his top table

May 17 – FIFA president Gianni Infantino has dismissed the threat of legal challenge from Fifpro and the World Leagues Association (WLA) over the overloaded match calendar and the introduction of the expanded 32-team Club World Cup in 2025 as ‘futile’.

In his opening address to the 74th FIFA Congress in Bangkok, Thailand, he argued that “even with the new Club World Cup of FIFA with 32 teams and 63 matches every four years. FIFA is organising around one percent, 1%, of the games of the top clubs in the world, 1%.”

Closing with an the argument that FIFA uses the as yet unidentified revenue to fund its members, Infantino said: “We should probably stop this futile debate, which is really pointless and focus on what we have to do, what our mission is, which is to organise.
“To develop football around the world because 70% of you of the member associations of FIFA would have no football without the resources coming directly.”

Fifpro and the WLA in a letter to FIFA at the end of last week said that unless FIFA scrapped the 2025 Club World Cup they would be forced to take legal action. They argued that the added competition was damaging for player welfare and threatened the economic balance of professional leagues.

They also argued that despite multiple attempts to be part of the discussion with FIFA on this element of the international match calendar, as major stakeholders (arguably more important stakeholders than FIFA itself), they had been excluded.
Infantino’s argument was that the extra games make no difference to player workload. He didn’t address the element of the Fifpro and WLA complaint that it will undermine the infrastructure of the professional game and leagues worldwide, threatening both their sporting integrity, scheduling and commercial deals.

And rather than offer an olive branch of bringing them to the discussion table he went a step further by slamming that door in their faces.

Infantino’s argument was that he is returning a percentage of the money FIFA might make back to smaller federations worldwide. The argument is somewhat spurious as it makes no recognition of the fact they are making that money on the back of players they neither train or pay for, and on the back of clubs and leagues that they make no contribution to.

In particular it was a direct assault by Infantino on Europe and its major leagues that ultimately fuel the professional game worldwide.

As one insider told Insideworldfootball immediately after Infantino’s comments: “At some point what you destroy in Europe is bigger than what you create for others.”

From FIFA and Infantino the message is clear – we will do what we want and you have no place at the decision making table, and we won’t be creating one for you.

From Fifpro and the WLA the message was equally clear at the beginning. Expect litigation.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1719304402labto1719304402ofdlr1719304402owedi1719304402sni@n1719304402osloh1719304402cin.l1719304402uap1719304402