Agencies/Miami, United States
FIFA will go ahead with a new 24-team Club World Cup starting in 2021, the ruling body’s President Gianni Infantino said yesterday.
Infantino, speaking at a news conference, said FIFA had made the decision at its council meeting yesterday.
His comments came after the European Clubs Association wrote a letter asking him not make a decision now and saying they would not take part in 2021 tournament.
The FIFA Council also decided to use VAR video review technology at June’s Women’s World Cup in France.
It will be the first time that the tournament will use the system, employed for the first time in the men’s World Cup at last year’s edition in Russia.
Top European clubs said yesterday they will boycott a planned 24-team Club World Cup in 2021.
In a statement released shortly before FIFA’s ruling council were expected to greenlight the new tournament at a meeting in Miami, the European Club Association said its members would not participate. “ECA clubs will not participate in the Club World Cup in 2021 and will assess participation in the Club World Cup in 2024,” an ECA spokesman told AFP.
A 17-page report distributed to the 37 members of FIFA’s ruling body calls for the new tournament to take place between June 17 and July 4, 2021, replacing the Confederations Cup international tournament.
But the ECA have argued against the plans despite Infantino pushing strongly for the new-look competition.
Any boycott by European clubs would instantly diminish the viability of the competition.
A report distributed to FIFA Council members this week said five of the six regional confederations are in favour of the proposal for the tournament.
However European governing body UEFA, which accuses FIFA of a lack of consultation and transparency over the project, has opposed plans moving forward, citing scheduling problems.
UEFA had earlier lobbied for 12 clubs to take part in any new tournament. However under the proposal tabled at yesterday’s meeting in Miami, Europe would have only eight slots.
South America will have six qualified clubs, while Africa, Asia, North and Central America will each have three teams. One team will represent the Oceania region.
The issue of a revamped Club World Cup has been simmering for the past year after it emerged that a tournament bankrolled by investors from Asia and the Middle East had been offered to FIFA. That funding offer, reportedly worth $25bn, was later withdrawn.
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